Dust to dust

I’M A FILE man, a decades-long habit. I had a jammed file cabinet in Houston, and I have another one in Mexico.

I was going through the Miscellaneous file recently and came upon my mother’s death certificate and the certificate of cremation from Atlanta Crematory Inc. My sister mailed these to me in 2009, which is when my mother died.

You learn things by reading a death certificate and a certificate of cremation. I notice that my mother died on Jan. 8, and she was also cremated on Jan. 8. No time was lost.

There was no wake.

The certificate of cremation doesn’t have lots of details, but the death certificate is more informative. Mother died in Emory University Hospital at age 90. She had been hospitalized about a week, and had been taken there by my sister.

deathI only have one sibling, and she is a very conflictive person, which is one reason I was not present. I prefer distance between my sister and myself.

The death certificate says my mother’s “usual occupation” was teacher, and that’s quite right. Eighth Grade was her preferred class because she said they were old enough to wipe themselves but too young to have become smartasses.

Her parents — my grandparents, of course — are named. Her father’s full name was Walter Jackson Powell, which I knew. Her mother’s full name was Osie Evelyn Moree, which was interesting. I never knew her middle name.

Osie is a very old-fashioned name, but Evelyn isn’t so much. Nonetheless, you don’t see many babies nowadays named Evelyn. I like Evelyn. It’s all about Eve.

(Going back further, her father was Dard Moree, a very wealthy farmer who would have been born about the time the Yankee General Sherman was laying waste to Georgia. Dard’s success played a role in my being able to retire at 55, bless him.)

She was my favorite grandparent by far. My maternal grandfather died when I was 12, and my father’s folks lived farther north, way up in Atlanta, and we lived in Florida. Mother’s people lived in south Georgia.

It was an easier drive in the Plymouth, plus my father didn’t like his parents. My mother, an only child, loved hers.

Moving down the certificate, I see that even though the Atlanta Crematory Inc. cremated Mother, it was Wages & Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that handled the arrangements. Mother had a contract with them.

Wages & Sons Funeral Home. Ironic, no? Wages & Sons also handled my father’s funeral back in 1991. I attended that one. I did not attend my mother’s funeral because there wasn’t one. I’m not sure exactly why. My sister ran that show.

The certificate goes on to point out that Mother was not embalmed, which I guess is normal if a cremation is in the cards. And then we get to the cause of death.

Since she was 90, the cause is pretty straightforward. She died of old age, but hospitals and City Halls want details, and here they are. Three conditions did her in.

Starting one week before she drew her final breath was “pseudomonas healthcare acquired pneumonia,” which sounds like she got pneumonia from being in the hospital. And then two days before her death, there was acute renal failure and hyperkalemia. I had to Google that last one.

The “cause of death,” it says, was congestive heart failure. And there was no autopsy. Good. Any halfwit who’d finished Junior High knows why she died. She was 90.

Down at the bottom of the certificate are the names of the attending physician, Sonjay Raja Lakar, and the “certifier,” Dr. Ronak Patel, demonstrating that multiculturalism is alive and well at Emory University Hospital.

Did you know the overwhelming majority of American motels are operated by East Indians? I read that somewhere.

It’s interesting to get into the files now and then.

* * * *

(Note: For a more heartfelt yarn about my mother’s death, one written just after the event, read Dancing the Hassapiko.)

27 thoughts on “Dust to dust

  1. The mind plays tricks in the morning. Your reference to Wages and Sons set off a torrent of connections that would have made Carl Jung smile. Wages and Sons. Wages of sin. Death. Judgment. Hell.

    But all of that was getting a bit too Calvinist for me on this beautifully cool morning at the beach. Instead, I should take a look at my Spanish homework for today’s class. Or I could take a look at a recipe to boil smarmy little boys.


    1. Señor Cotton: Yes, Wages & Sons is a hoot of a name for a mortuary. If you look at the website’s personnel page you’ll see a bunch of people named Wages. Obviously, a family business, and a very big and successful one. Burial is a gold mine in the United States.

      Now get thyself to boiling smarmy little boys.


    2. All little boys are smarmy. You don’t have a pot big enough to hold them all. What is so wrong with a dose of Calvinism? It takes the stress of being a Christian off your shoulders if you know that God has already made His decision.


      1. Bonnie: I was not a smarmy little boy. I was sweet and perfect. You could have asked my mother. She would have confirmed it.

        Now, decades later, I am still sweet and perfect. My wife will confirm it.


        1. All mothers say their sons are perfect, even when they know the truth. Besides, I have seven smarmy grandsons – that is why I know they cannot all fit into one pot.


  2. I have stayed at many a formerly Mom and Pop motels in the south and southwest. They were mostly owned and operated by Asian Indians of the Patel family. Interesting!


    1. Carlos: I forget where I picked up that tidbit of information, but I recall being quite shocked at the percentages. It’s over 90 percent of U.S. motels. Apparently, it’s the business of choice for Indian immigrants.

      Power to ’em. I welcome Indians.


      1. We bought our Florida shipping business from an Indian – Patel – who was moving up the business ladder to a Comfort Inn in Atlanta. We did not move on to another business after I discovered I hated customers.


  3. One thing that caught my attention, as I wait for my next eighth grade class in Tlalnepantla, Mexico State, was the surname of your grandmother. The reason it caught my attention is because Moree is also the name of a country town in my home state of New South Wales, Australia. After a little bit of online research, I have discovered that the name means water or spring in an Australian indigenous language. Best wishes from the big city on a chilly morning.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Señor Davies: If I recall correctly, the Moree name in our family is of French origin. It initially included an accent mark. I guess it was pronouced Mo-ray. But since we are country bumpkins and hicks, it became Mo-ree. I’m guessing the place name in Australia is a coincidence, but who knows? Thanks for the feedback.


  4. Our experience with Indian-run motels has been good. My wife was talking to the lady who ran the hotel in San Diego. When she found out where we were going, she got onto the computer and booked us rooms all the way to Golden, Alberta.

    The return trip was not so smooth.


    1. Señor Gill: Indian immigrants to the U.S. seem to be a good addition to the population. Other groups, and I’m too polite to name them, of course, are not good additions.


      1. Felipe: I disagree. I worked as an independent Petroleum Landman for a few years securing leases for oil companies. This took me to many small towns in Oklahoma and Texas where motel accommodations were limited, to say the least. Most of the motels had been purchased by Indian immigrants named Patel. Without exception, I found the facilities downright nasty to stay in. On more then one occasion, I’d pull down the bedding to find sheets that weren’t changed from the previous occupant with the bonus assortment of mystery hairs and stains.

        I found these guys to be sleazy, deadbeat businessmen that mistreat their employees with low pay and inadequate cleaning supplies and tools.

        A “good addition to the population”- not from my experience and observations.


        1. Jeff: Perhaps I should narrow my comment about being a good addition to the population to this: Great food, beautiful babes.

          Judging from your experiences, what we have here are people bringing their way of life in the Third World to the U.S. Of course, this also applies in spades to the Mohammedans Weepy Barry wants to ship over.


        2. I forgot to add that in doing our due diligence for the place we bought from Patel in Florida, we asked for his tax returns for the business. They were, to put it politely, fiction. He left out all kinds of income ( like from the other three businesses he owned in town) – he was a sole proprietor so this was his only tax return. He took a child care credit because his 12 year old son got off the bus at the business. His accountant was a guy in Georgia, named Patel.


  5. I enjoyed both stories. A little confusion on the dates of the “dancing” article. Her date of death was Jan 8, 2009. The story is dated at the top Sept 7, 2006.

    I am still having a hard time not leaving two spaces after a period. I never heard about the change over till you mentioned it.


    1. Patzman: I wondered if anyone would notice that conflict of dates, and here you are, right off the bat.

      That post first appeared on the old Zapata Tales right after she died. I later decided to put it on the Pearls website, but that blog is mostly static. I did not want it to go where it would have gone had I merely added it. You cannot move the posts around, so I found a way to get around that. I used the template of an older post, changed the type of the older post to another location, and used the template of the older post to give a home to the Hassapiko yarn. But it’s impossible to change the date, thus the wrong date.

      I’m sure all that made perfect sense. Bottom line: She died in 2009, not 2006.

      As for the two spaces after a sentence, it wasn’t me who mentioned that. It was Jennifer Rose on Steve Cotton’s blog. I did add something to her observations, however. Two spaces or one after a sentence … makes me no nevermind. Just seems like extra effort to put two, and it’s a habit I never developed.


  6. Wow. I had to ask, didn’t I.
    My apologies to Jennifer for not recalling where I read the 2 spaces vs 1 space thing.


  7. I too am a bit of a victim of files. After a while, I started to get over it, and began to shred everything. Then I started reading about the potential for an attack via electromagnetic pulse or EMP, which supposedly would wipe out all computer records. So I started to save some paper again, figuring it might give me a leg up in a post-apocalyptic world.

    As you say, we gringos fret too much. There. You don’t have to put it into the reply.


    Kim G
    DF, México
    Where we agree with you about the Indians. Now if only they’d sell some of that food they’re eating in the back room of the motel too, it’d be perfect.


    1. We stayed in an ‘America’s Best Value’ motel, which was a pit, owned by an Indian family, in Winchester VA, but the saving grace was a restaurant (East Indian) across the road where we had one of the best meals ever. We rearranged our travel plans the next year, just to go back to that restaurant, but it was closed. We do however, now ask Indian motel owners to recommend eateries, and have not been disappointed. Used to ask workers in Mexican hotels where they ate and also had good results. If you ask a Canadian, you’ll end up with salty grease.


      1. Kris: I had to Google America’s Best Value Motels. Never heard of it. I see they prefer Inn to Motel.

        Good one about Canadian food. True, you folks are not renowned for your cuisine. I love Indian grub. Mexican? Not so much.


      2. Kris: the last sentence made me laugh! But you have a great idea. I don’t know why I haven’t thought to ask. Well, actually I do. Most of the “Patel Motels” where I’ve stayed have been in the middle of nowhere, seemingly hopeless places for Indian food. But you’re right; doesn’t hurt to ask. Saludos!


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