Sunday, August 21, 2016

Grief Tacos

A quick zip across two states:

  • Barely out of Minneapolis and we stopped for Second Breakfast. (I know people who claim they don't eat Second Breakfast, but those people are lying.) We're at a fast food place and a lady walks in wearing designer from head to toe, with an expensive handbag nestled artfully in the crook of her arm. She was looking quite perfect with her neatly coordinated top and skirt, shiny coral shoes, baubles in her hair, and lipstick on. I was not bothered by her presence at a fast food place--hey, sometimes you just want a fucking Whopper and that's OK. What got me was her look of confusion: She wandered up and down the row of tables where we sat, looking as if it was all so beneath her while simultaneously looking as if she needed help understanding it. This was the most impressive performance I witnessed on the entire trip. I was traveling for a funeral, so you know that's a high bar, and she set it early.
  • You can't do a road trip without music, right? I thought so, but it seems there are people (my sister, namely) who often drive with no music playing at all! Weird, right? Thank god she wasn't driving.
  • My traveling companion had never heard 80% of the music I played on this trip, including:
    • Punch Brothers Phosphorescent Blues
    • case/lang/viers (eponymous)
    • Indigo Girls Despite Our Differences
    • del amitri Change Everything (yes...she is related to me. I don't know what the hell happened to cause this gaping hole in her life, but I fixed it. Now she's heard it. Twice. I'm thorough.), and
    • A super rando mix disc I made with everything from Sinead O'Connor to Jack White to 123, to What Made Milwaukee Famous to Jesse McCartney to Prince to Jill Scott to Heartless Bastards get the idea. Somehow it works. I'm the queen of segues.
  • She liked all of it. Of course she liked all of it--how could she not like all of that stuff? Only mutants don't like that stuff.
  • Kummerspeck: The German word for weight gained from stress eating, introduced to me by my friend Lauri. We silly Americans have coined the somewhat equivalent phrase "Grief Bacon" to excuse ourselves to eat. Let's face it...we're always making up excuses to eat. We're Americans...this is what we do. The service I attended on Friday was in a funeral home located on the same block as a taco stand. I parked my car, looked to the left, saw a sign with a dude wearing a sombrero, and immediately thought, "Wow...Grief Tacos. That's convenient."
  • I did a tiny bit of research (Read: I asked my Ansbach-native sister-in-law) and discovered the German word for "taco" is just "taco" so, "grief tacos" is...kummertacos. Those jokes write themselves. Go nuts.
    • OK, OK...Eating tacos because you’re sad is more like, "Ich esse Tacos , weil ich trauernde," but I’m an American, so...Grief Tacos.
  • The Grief Tacos (yes, I had tacos. This is me we’re talking about.) were not good. At all. Boring and inauthentic.  Luckily, there was INSANE Grief Brisket at the dinner, made by an authentic Mexican woman. Nobody is hungry at the funeral of a Mexican person...and if they’re smart, they're not eating Grief Tacos.
  • My parents, brothers, sister and I went to the grave sites of the Grands--my mom's parents and my dad's parents--about 40 yards from each other on a hillside. There was told, once again, the tale of how my maternal grandmother and grandfather were married. It seems sweet Rosanna, having been previously married and divorced, was pregnant with my aunt. Scandal! She and Oscar could not find anyone to marry them in their town, what with her being a ruined woman and all, so they hopped on a motorcycle and drove around to other towns where nobody knew them until they found someone who would make it legal. I love thinking about my grandparents this way. Young, making "mistakes," living life, taking risks. They were together until their deaths and were a sweet, playful, fun couple. Theirs is my favorite family story. So far.
  • I was raised a Lutheran and I know me some Lutheran Pastors. I can spot them a mile away--they're the one genuinely nice person in the room, calling everyone by their names whenever possible, and telling corny jokes while happily tucking in to the pot-luck. Easy-peasy. They are practically wearing signs around their necks. I don't know who was reading verses at that service, but they were lacking all of the Lutheran Pastor markers. He didn't even call Lisa by her name, and she was the reason we were all there. I call bullshit. You gotta get a Lutheran Pastor for this stuff. I'm just saying.
  • Humor. It pulls us through. Some might say things like "now is not the time," but I was raised among, and by, smart-asses. We virtually never say that. I would go so far as to say that when you die and the people gather, if they are not laughing, maybe you failed at life. People should be free to think of stupid shit like grief tacos in the presence of your urn, then turn around and tell someone to score a laugh. If your friends and family are not there yet, help them along while you still have time. (Hint: You don't have very much time.) Thanks, Lisa, for being a part of our family, and for bringing your good humor and warmth with you when you did.

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