Not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past I had anticipated this moment and with a sense of satisfaction retrieved Dad from the car to show off my handiwork. I had repeated my brother-in-law’s ritual, but ahead of time to avert a crisis. True enough there was no way in (or out) and no instructions. To all intents and purposes this was obviously intended as his last resting place -ad infinitum.
I considered the hacksaw solution but decided that I needed a neater device – something that would give me options. I considered two puncture holes, one in each end to allow a smooth pour, not unlike the system for liquids which averts the glug glug as the container gasps for breath and invariably spills its contents over the nearest surface.
I guessed however, that given the volume of ashes in the box, that this might cause the pouring ritual to become an interminably long and tedious process. I needed a larger hole. My tool collection is extensive, if under-utilised, and there hiding behind the WD40 on the top shelf of the converted kitchen hutch lay my long forgotten set of concentric hole cutting drill bits. I felt a tingle of anticipation.
I selected a four inch diameter cutting bit, inserted it into my variable speed electric drill, tightened it with the chuck and, like a surgeon about to perform an autopsy, approached my subject. I had a moment’s hesitation as I faced my dear departed father but putting sentiment aside, I carefully brought drill to plastic, tested the speed trigger and, all being in order, began.
Power tools have been a boon to the home handy-men of the world and thanks to Mr Ryobi, the task was completed in about fifteen seconds flat.
Hey presto! There before me, visible through the new access point, lay the grey remains of my father. I looked, paused, felt slightly confused at feeling nothing for this collection of ashes, and set about devising a temporary seal.
Ingeniously I drilled a small hole in the now removed circle of plastic, threaded a string through the hole, knotted it behind what was now a lid and, confident that I could retrieve it if the worst was to happen (it to disappear inside the container). I taped the plug in place using some trusty gaffer tape, leaving a length of string trailing from the top as my security.
This was what I presented to the family on the picnic table at Wardell amid the leftover olives and ham sandwiches.
They were not as in awe of my ingenious solution to one of life’s great challenges as I had hoped.