Drove around a bit before going to the visitation before the funeral. Sometimes you just don’t want the end to begin.
Parked a few blocks away. Tromped up through the snow to Smith Triangle, where Thomas Lowry’s monument stands.
After all these years the personality still comes through; at the unveiling, the speaker said it was as if the sculptor had knocked on Lowry’s tomb and bidden him to come forth.
Carved epigrams strike the right note:
Lowry presided over the city’s streetcar system. We lament the end of the system now, and while I have great nostalgia for it in its context, I am suspect of efforts to revive it. But that’s another essay. He pushed the system out into areas undeveloped, parts of which by some delightful coincidence he owned.
The memorial used to be up the street, but they had to move it when they ran the freeway through the Hennepin-Lyndale intersection, buliding, among other things, the Lowry Tunnel. Which is used exclusively by cars.
On the other side, a strange squatting lion-faced thing crouches at the verdigris base of a lamp, worn by time into an alien mask.
That's not a face that looks away, ever. The more you look the deeper it stares.
Back to the other side of the memorial.
Time for the visitation, then. And so to the funeral home.
It has an old clock outside, which seems redundant on one level, and almost mocking on another - and also a pertinent reminder. Decades pass without a thought; minutes matter. Everyone is on time at the end.
Inside, smiles. People smile when they see others they haven’t seen for so long, and while the reason we’re here is horrible, there’s comfort in others. Nothing you can say is enough and you know it, but you say it anyway. Wall of pictures. I got the hard pang and the fast flood and throttled it back for the rest of the day. Got it out of my system last Monday anyway. This is the remembrance, the celebration, the recollection. Then I heard the music on the speakers above and laughed: David Bowie. She loved David Bowie.
Three songs played, the last one being “And She Was,” by the Talking Heads. I’d just heard it the other day, and thought “everyone loves Quirky Byrne, but this song is everything that was wrong about post ‘Fear of Music’ Heads. Interesting video - stop-motion collage from the people who did that Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” video, if I recall correctly - average hook, trademark Byrne banalities masquerading as cryptic poetry, general weightless meaningless trifle. It’s about a woman who floats up in the air and floats away. Okay then.
But now my toe was tapping. I looked down the aisle to see if there were any movement in the black trouser legs, slight motion in the heels. C’mon. She wants us to dance. That’s what comes to you. Not she’d want, or she wanted; she wants. Not she was. She is.
From the easel. Lisa Hulsey Sarenpa.