Last night's conversation revolved around three things:
- My ex-husband, who'd put in a disturbing appearance at the party.
- This book, which was displayed on the coffee table and earned "ooh"s and "ah"s from those flipping through its pages.
- The Day of the Dead shrine glowing in candlelight in the corner of the room.
And that is what I did today. I am blessed to have relatively few dead to honor, most of whom were lucky enough to have lived long happy lives. Of course, my dad is featured prominently, and his is the heartbreaking story in my shrine. A tormented soul, he burned furiously and quickly, much like the candle lighting his photo.
Oh, but he was a man of principle. And though he had only 47 years in which to do it, and didn't really intend to do it in the first place, he taught his lessons to all around him. You probably didn't get the chance to meet him, and that is truly unfortunate. Had you, these are some of the things you might have learned:
- Take care of your friends, your family, and your own damn self.
- Smoke as much weed as you want, but go easy on the booze.
- Whatever it is, someone somewhere needs it more than you. Give it to them if you're able.
- The best way to parent is to remember what it was like to be a child.
- See the world, not Americanized cities in foreign countries.
- Having a cold is no excuse to miss a day of work.
- You know what's best for you.
- Live modestly. Possessions are meaningless.
- Always say you're sorry, especially to your children.
- Treat the homeless and the jobless with respect. It's easier to find yourself in their place than you know.
- There is no greater shame than walking around with a tourist map.
- There's always a fence to fix and shit to shovel. Don't bitch, just fix it and shovel it.
- Whatever you do, do it with good music in the background.
- Love big and wide open. The heartache will be worth it.
- Don't speak ill of the dead, even if they earned it.
- Always forgive. Others' mistakes are no worse than your own.
- When it's time to laugh, laugh until your cheeks hurt. When it's time to cry, don't worry about who might see. When it's time to be angry, swear loudly and throw things.
- The great things you do are no greater than the great things other people do.
- Don't give advice. Be quiet and listen.
- There is no shame in falling down, so long as you pull yourself back up.
- If there are chopsticks on the table, use them.
- Mind your manners.
- Fuck the Yankees.