Columbus, Ohio USA
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With Clear Reasoning, Zero Emotion,
Quaker Oats Could Preserve Earth

By Doral Chenoweth, Jr.
November/December 2016 Issue

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With clear reasoning, zero emotion, Quaker Oats could preserve Earth. This is not an endorsement for the porridge box of Quaker Oats already popular in American kitchens. Cream of Wheat does just as well on my table.

As I keyboard, I am 95 years and several month into this life. Time, talent and some trepidation tell me to tally thoughts, tempered with confusion and controversy, relating to disposal of these tapping fingers, hinged bones and fleshy parts. To be exact, my serious thoughts began decades ago while aboard an Eastern Airlines flight pulling off and up out of LaGuardia. As I looked down on a spreading New York City, there atop a small hillock, even then, tall, graying tombstones covered and blocked out any green or scarred sod to indicate a fresh or recent coffin entombment.

In intervening decades since, I’ve boned up on what we do with and what to do to increasing millions of dead bodies. My quick conclusion is that the Stone Agers had the right solution: Fire in the hole. Rid this then-lush Earth of any useless or diseased bodies. Along comes supporting authority: Genesis 3.19. I’ve always questioned pulpit philosophy about any afterlife. That ashes-to-ashes stuff is a poetic sidequote involving one being dust-to-dust, thee being dust and being returned to dust. I must assume we live on Earth’s bounty from the soil and sea, best we do not impede nature with bronze caskets and/or marble and concrete roadblocks.

How is it that today some riverless inland regions of India cremate using fiery stacks of bodies? Is it a religious or sanitation concern when other grieving families, in their minds, use a powerful River Ganges to float shroud-wrapped bodies to some perceived holy place with spirits intact.

It may be my decisions in all this stem from my North Carolina teen years. My Depression-era family inherited a farm, truly forty acres and a mule. With it came a private, unkept burial plot, maybe fifty-by-fifty feet. No fence or surveyor stobs. One ground-level stone marker had the name Greene chiseled in with late 1800 dates. My good citizen brother tended the plot until he sold the forty acres along with that faithful Genesis-tended mule.

Considering what is happening today – burial and coffin commercialization, plot frauds, total lack of legislative interest, multiple body stacking in pauper graves in potter’s fields – I’ve made my own, precise, detailed funeral plan right up to the urn. It is not to be of bronze, silver, pewter, enamel, china, carved or tooled wood, even of labor-intensive paper mache. My conveyance: A cylindrical Quaker Oats box to tote my crematory prepped ashes and found metal replacements for damaged bones accrued over decades. Cremation is very thorough when it comes to preparing flesh and bone to be Genesis-ready. My super son has promised to carry out my wishes.

The Genesis-intended method for disposal is part of my Earth’s salvation. To contemplate in noncommercial detail, see Feel free to copy, use, duplicate, improve, or pontificate with or without literary credit.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention – an abrupt disposal method: When a sinkhole near Orlando, Florida, sucked down an entire house, sleeping occupant included, authorities merely, for safety reasons, refilled the hole, house and sleeper wedged at the bottom, packed and trapped in topsoil, and the story ends there.

As for Quaker Oats, generic brand labels are equally biodegradable and work just as well if they are to be displayed for family posterity on mantles or on bookshelves. Tossing the ashes at sea or on supposedly sacred ground is optional.

For peaceful thoughts on my only Earth, all this is a start.

Doral Chenoweth, an Ohio food writer, is the oldest active member of the Society of Professional Journalists.Email the Grump: Visit

end and beginning –
new life in greener pastures
beyond the river

– Yvonne Hardenbrook



what’s underneath,
upends the normal
order, dirt over
grass. It covers
and recovers, patient
as mourners leave
gravesides. It moves,
makes a place for
plants, pea gravel,
carries the dead
rat to a dumpster.
In the end, there’s
another hole
opened or
deepened, filled
again and again
as life delivers
in spades.

Steve Abbott, 2016


© 2016 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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