This is my favorite song by Nanci Griffith, who is one of my favorite singers. Ten years ago I brought the CD with us when we drove over to the coast to scatter my mother's ashes at sea, because this particular song could have been written about my mother and I identified it with her in the strongest of ways.
The appointment to be on board the whale-watching boat was scheduled for early afternoon and it was our intention to do the scattering and then drive home as we had not made arrangements for the dogs, who were waiting there for us.
We arrived at Depoe Bay to find the weather brisk and stormy and went to the charter boat kiosk to pay for our rides, only to be told that, "The bar is closed." Conditions were too dangerous for any captain to take any boat from the small bay out into the wild open ocean, i.e. "crossing the bar." The situation was repeated this year in late October, as described in a news article: First Storm of the Season Closes Bar Entrances and when I read that it brought back memories of our challenge ten years ago. Here is how we handled the change of plans.....
We asked if they might be able to take us out the following day and we were told there were no guarantees, that this was a heavy storm. We needed to call them the next morning to get a report on conditions. Michael suggested that I stay the night and that he would return home to care for the pets and we would hope for the best in 24 hours time. We had dinner there before he left, bringing my mother's ashes into the restaurant with us under my coat because we didn't want to leave them in the car. Thus, the "three" of us had a final lovely dining experience at the coast, something we had enjoyed many times together. We thought that quite funny.
I got a room at the motel where my mother and I had shared many great weekends together prior to my marriage with Michael. It was our place...beautiful rooms with ocean view, great indoor swimming pool, and hot sauna. Michael returned home and I was left alone with my mother's ashes, a small boombox, and my Nanci Griffith CD. I set my mother's ashes on the small round table in front of the windows and opened the windows wide to let the ocean sounds compete with Late Night Grand Hotel until it became too cold with them open. Then, with the room warming to a familiar coziness I repeated this one song over and over and over, not able to get enough of it, and each time feeling a stronger connection with my mother. So like her, so like her life. And I was sad that was true for her, but also proud of her for stepping into the role life gave her and for playing it so well.
The evening was exactly what I needed for our final farewell before the scattering that did in fact take place the following afternoon. I can honestly say that it was the most powerful and fulfilling night I have ever spent in a motel.