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An appalling (albeit hysterically funny) story

Monday, April 30, 2012

Warning - this is not for the faint of heart - it's just WEIRD!

Okay, I have a bizarre sister. No one believes how strange she is. This story illustrates this.

Background - she lives in a religious community called a Bruderhof. They're Hutterite communal living groups, kind of like a kibbutz with a group business, communal kitchens, assigned housing, have their own schools, all that. (That isn't the strange part - you just need to picture it.) My sister and her husband have been there for about 20 years, and raised their 5 children there.

So - my sister had pet rats (the lab rat kind) for a long time. She's allergic to cats and dogs, thus the pet rats. Apparently, there was a very special rat that the kids, when they were young, became very fond of and attached to - and when said rat passed away (this is the weird part) my sister somehow managed to cremate the rat. (Don't imagine this part, or ask.)

She then took the rat ashes, and put them in a little tin - and mailed this to my father. Now, my sister lived at that time in upstate New York - and mailed the ratty ashes to my father in Washington state. Her children had their hearts set on burying the rat at sea - and since our father is a professor of coastal geology, my sister sent the ashes with the request that he toss the ashes into the ocean. So when my father took his graduate seminar to a beach for an onsite lecture about some coastal process, he took the container of rat ashes, told his students that his 5 grandchildren wanted him to bury the rat at sea, and said if any students laughed they'd fail the class. So they stood there looking serious while he tossed in the ashes.

Now, I realize this really is very funny. But when my dad was visiting, and told us this story, I just sat there with my jaw dropped and my hands on my cheeks - WHO IN THE WORLD cremates a pet rat??????? Then mails the ashes 3000 miles to be "buried" at sea, when they live less than 30 miles from the Hudson River, which FEEDS INTO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!?!?!?!

I realize that this is incredibly funny - trust me, I know this - but I'm also beyond appalled that anyone, no matter how bizarre, would actually do this!!!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Well, that is different! Not the cremating part, but the rest of the story is. I concur with most, your dad has got to be one of the best. He handled his grandchildrens request with great aplomb. I really wonder what she was thinking though, seeing that she does not live far from the water herself.

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    2022 days ago
    The only part that really struck me as weird was at the end, that she would send the ashes across the country when there was access to an ocean just around the corner. I once helped clean out the apartment of a friend who passed away, and we found a shoebox of cremated cat ashes (we only knew what it was because it was labeled) in her closet. To me, that's actually weirder. At least your sister disposed of the ashes! And wow, I'd really love to meet your father. He sounds beyond awesome!
    2024 days ago
    I can't quite get beyond scooping up warm rat ashes..................
    2027 days ago
    May the Rat rest in peace. (I'm still trying to picture why they wanted him buried at sea... must have like the water). Ok, still chuckling. And I really admire your dad (and his students for that matter!)
    2027 days ago
    Awwww, bless her heart! Okay, that's different...I love it! emoticon
    2027 days ago
    LOL!!! Family!!! SMH.....
    2028 days ago
    Ok, still picturing all of this and can't completely wrap my head around it, but it is funny!
    2028 days ago
    It takes all kinds........ emoticon
    2028 days ago
    I think partly I'm just so attached to pets, I couldn't cremate them, even if they died from natural causes - that part of the story freaks me out!!!!!!
    2028 days ago
    Wow. Extra special.
    2028 days ago
    I found that . . . hysterical. And your father is so . . . accomodating?
    2028 days ago
    Nothing stranger than folks: particularly our very own folks. But . .. great story!!
    2028 days ago
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