I’m sorry to give you such a downer topic like this on a bright Sunday morning, but I had to dump two other ideas, and I panicked.

My favorite was about who the City Council is going to get to wash those humongous windows on the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center.

I mean I can’t even get anyone to wash my living room windows these days.

Nope. It would offend local window washers.

The other was this sudden shortage of baby formulas. Don’t you hate that? But I don’t have babies anymore, so here’s what I came up with.

I’m much too young to write about this stuff, but my lawyer says I have to make plans in case I pass. “Pass” is the old Baptist word for crossing over to the other side.


I’ve been thinking about this story since word reached me last year that an actor named Charlie Cloud had passed. He had a cooler tribal name, but I’ve forgotten it.

One day back in the ’70s, Charlie and I were shooting a lawn mower commercial out in Santa Monica, when a big, black hearse passed by, followed by a line of cars.

Charlie lowered his Aviators.

“On their way to the dirt farm,” he said. “They put my great-great-grandfather in a tree when he passed.”

I winced. “In a tree?”

“He was a Sioux warrior,” he explained. “I think that’s so cool.”


Jane Lee, the old casting lady now “gone,” once told me Charlie had moved to New York.

Well, unless he’s up in an oak in Central Park, I hope his family has made other plans.

I’m not crazy about the tree thing. I mean, birds picking at your eyes? You know what I mean?

But in case my family runs out of ideas, I would suggest my favorite, the Chinese ginkgo. It’s gorgeous. As I’m hoping to “go” or “pass,” or “leave” back in L.A., I can tell you that there are many ginkgo around the City of Angels.

But my youngest daughter naturally nixes that idea. “It’s much too slight and delicate to put someone of your weight on it,” she said. She’s an actors’ agent and minces no words.

But she added that talk about what to do with “what’s left behind” is big cocktail party and poolside chatter these days.


One of her actors is fond of the old Viking funeral, where the “gone” person is put in a boat, friends set fire to the deck, and push it out to sea.

I don’t think She, who is afraid of fire and hates boats, would even attend.

And I’m sure that none of the gang on Waterville’s City Council would be crazy about a torched dinghy with me aboard, floating down the Kennebec past the newly-renovated Head of Falls and accidentally igniting the new Two Cent Bridge in passing. Front page stuff, right? Why not?

Cremation? Yeah, maybe sprinkling my ashes on Sunset Boulevard? That would be so the ultimate cool.

OK. Next week. That baby formula shortage or the return of the killer caterpillars? Come on, I have deadlines, and my Stella is on ice. Pick one.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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