May 2018 – On the road trip back from the Washington Olympus Rally we stopped in the little church cemetery of Skokomish Indian Assembly of God.
It was a pleasantly overcast day and Sunday church goers were singing inside the chapel. Evergreen tree scent was all around and it was just temperate enough for my hoodie.
It was a small, “one stoplight” town or area of and across from the Church and Cemetery was the local casino. It occurred to me that I had never seen a casino across from a church and cemetery before.
The inscriptions on the headstones and upright markers were neat. You could tell there had been tribal funding that helped make some of them possible.
My absolute favorite for the day had the quoted inscription, “Pull my finger!” at the top. This sentence was both one I never fathomed I’d see on an upright marker and one I had never wanted to read in hard print.
It did highlight one of humanity’s beautiful traits that I admire… the ability to find humor and laugh in hard or painful situations.
When making funeral arrangements with families the groups that still take moments to pepper conversation with loving jokes and laughter, even though the tears; are a delight to serve and assist through the deep personal life event they are under going.
Don’t ever be shy to ask for the quoted inscription on your headstone that will bring a smile to your friends and family when they stop by to share a moment.
One of my favorite duties at the funeral home is managing our participation in the local Everett Artwalk. I volunteer to assist interested newcomers in participating with the other businesses as well as organizing our artist and performers.
To date one of my favorite performers is Miss Hajera. In 2017 she participated in several Artwalks with henna body painting and gave her grand finale on winter solstice with a 🔥 firedance in the parking lot.
Volunteer drummers began and set the stage as she read a blessing and began to spin balls of live hot flames. The weather was cool and the sun had set. It’s was a spectacular show; the kind that inspires you to try a new hobby you would have never imagined. Post by: Hollyberry
Toby was our instant friend and tried to follow us home down the beach. His owners had to come catch him because it would’ve been too hard to tell him to go home! He still had that puppy smell and his fur was silly soft.
Waited all summer to get outside in this area up North with Ms. M! We camped at a deluxe cabin on the Puget Sound water front. No joke, haha! The shuttle van driver thought we were the next guest speaker because this cabin had a dedicated bathroom with shower separate from the sleeping quarters yet, still attached to the cabin. We hiked, skipped rocks on the water annnnnd … Still made sure to visit a local cemetery on our homeward bound trek.My favorite part? My favorite part was learning that cattails are eatable, at least some parts, getting a cabin right behind the gift shop, seeing the boathouse where they have historic and group activity events, oh!!! And the cafe – it’s so granola.
Some of the staff are retired soccer mom’s and some are 20s aged with dreadlocks. All of them were talking about soil related topics. Yes, I was dropping as I waited for Ms. M to arrive for breakfast. The smells I liked most were the wet tree moss, the salty beach front air, musty cabin and cafe fresh-herb aroma. At the cemetery my impression was more of a floating quandary of questions. Wondering about the cemetery sextants and what their experiences on-site had been. I imagined the burials and ceremonies that had taken place since before I was even a thought in anyone’s mind. It was, as it is with these thoughts, awe inspiring and joy provoking.
This might be a great place to start our origin story.
September 23rd, 2017. A road trip to Portland, Oregon from Seattle, Washington.
Just us girls in Michelle’s little Fiat, precious escape from work and any excuse to get out of town for my birthday. Dry and sunny weather made for easy traveling outside the cities.
Michelle describes herself as a, “gypsy punk, exploring quite places.” I have been lucky to be her exploring buddy on many a trip.
Her talent of remembering history and stories of the places and people has long been something I admire about her.
We arrived at Wilhelm Portland Memorial in the early afternoon and proceeded to explore the historic building.
Founded in 1901, Wilhelm Portland Memorial is the “largest and oldest indoor cemetery west of the Mississippi.” There is a population of 90,000 people laid to rest within the 10 floors at Wilhelm.
The mausoleum used to be open to the public, but became private in the ‘00s after a rash of copper thefts. Thieves were stealing name placards, flower sconces and other items off the property.
Not only is this indoor cemetery the biggest mausoleum I have seen, in person to date, it is also where Michelle has a relative interred and thus our visit. The 70s couches, copper flower trash cans and hand painted (1000s of square feet! HUGE!) mural are weaved together with polished marble, beautiful fountains and spiral staircases.
We ended our self guided exploratory tour at her relatives marker. This felt like the perfect place to leave my birthday rose that I had with me from the second date with Matt…. that I had been toting around with me for 2 days, across 2 states and giddily sniffing it’s soft fragrance while road tripping.