No marching bands down Main Street with girl scouts proudly touting our flag, no decorating the graves at the city cemetary, Legionnaires giving speeches, no picnics in the parks with fireworks blasting overhead, no celebration of my Dad’s birthday born on the fourth of July — instead a very private ceremony of the death of my partner of 31 years who died on July 4, eleven years ago. On this year I am accompanied by a very dear friend of mine, Greg Carlson whom I have known 19 years and who had known my Fred and admired him as I had. Fred’s son, Tom, gave me his Dad’s ashes, knowing I had wanted them to eventually include with my own, for my daughter to one day toss into a river or in a forest so Fred and I could spend eternity together while also creating new life wherever the ashes landed.

And so Greg and I found a spot on the flooded banks of the Mississippi River, surrounded by huge fallen majestic trees, brought down by demanding strong storms, many still standing, creating a magic place to toss Fred’s ashes in the fast moving waters, along with flowers we brought to ride the current accompanying the ashes, eventually accompanying them into the river’s mighty waves while I read aloud my


A true romantic with Hemingway’s Adventuresome,
A man with charisma who could entrance
An audience of students
Or fellow travelers in faraway places,
A lover of boisterous exchanges
Flavored with a touch of ‘zingers’,
Yet hermit-like in his
Enjoyment of his own company,
Who could spend days alone tenting,
Or sitting by a campfire,
Absorbing the sounds of the woods and its inhabitants,
Thinking his own thoughts with no need to share them.
His love of history influenced
How he saw the world and its players
And enriched his perceptions
Of what we saw and did in our many travels.
He conjured up the most amazing trips
Filled with serendipity that added spice
Turning each trip into “A Moveable Feast”.
This man was truly one of a kind,
True to his vision of how he wanted to live his life.
He will remain the love of my life.
I have been blessed!
Thank you, Universe.

Shirley Pearl

and thank you, Greg, for sharing this wondrous day with Fred, the Mississippi River and the magnificent greenery of its fragrant woods as we strolled among the many remaining upright trees. Reluctantly we left, knowing it was a day we would long remember.

Stay tuned for another episode of “The Lady from Trinidad”.

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