August 30, 2011

Music, Dad, and “Like Pictures”

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This past week a dear friend’s father died. I went to his funeral on Monday. I’d never met him, but his daughter is a phenomenal person. Stepping into a funeral home was like being two places at once: at my own father’s funeral and present at my friend’s. The funeral home decor was almost identical: red velour cushions in the chapel pews, unobtrusive “comforting” music in the background, and boxes of tissue every where. The bathrooms always seem to have ivy wallpaper just like the old kitchen at Dad’s house on Copeland Drive.

The funeral on Monday was a quiet affair: mostly family and a few friends. A smaller, more intimate greeting line where everyone knew each other and shared their grief. I watched, an observer having flashbacks to another funeral, mapping another family’s dynamice. One of four people seated in the pews not marked “Reserved.”

The chapel at Dad’s funeral was full of his pictures: portraits, still lives, landscapes, animals. Captured moments preserved on canvas for all to admire. He had a way of seeing scenery as pictures: memories as snapshots and art.

Another friend of mine read about Dad on this blog and sent me a link to a song, “Like Pictures,” by Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno. Even though he’d only read about my Dad on this blog, my friend said that the song reminded him of my Dad. He was absolutely right.

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