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This week’s edition!

Griffiths on Cremation, Luxury Trucks and Oysters

By Dave Griffith

TCT Columnist

Whew. It’s been a few months since my last column. I’ll blame travel and other diversions, but that’s probably not good enough. My New Year’s resolution is to get organized. Sure.

Anyway, as always, I’ve got something to say about national politics, but I’m going to resist that urge for now and stick with more serious topics, such as:

Where to send my corporeal self for eternity. Being a great admirer of our 16th president, I just finished Doris Kearns Goodwin’s splendid “Team of Rivals,” about Lincoln’s War Cabinet. What she has to say about Abe’s political instincts makes for compelling reading, but I was particularly intrigued by Lincoln’s fascination with his own death and premonitions about lying in state at the White House.

That got me thinking about my own demise and the disposal of my remains. I’m torn between two choices, both linked to my struggles on the golf course. Not having taken up the game until I was past 60, my swing hasn’t exactly had the time to develop into something useful. So I could donate my body to science in hopes of finding a physiological source for a horrific slice that often deviates into a shank and endangers small woodland creatures.

Or I could be cremated and have my ashes spread on a few greens at my local course, where they would make other fools wish they’d stuck with pursuits less aggravating than golf. (In my long-ago newspapering days in Kansas City, I wrote an article about cremation. Human ashes are really more like tiny pebbles, just the right size to nestle down between blades of grass and misdirect a short putt.)

Second, I recently saw Dodge advertising its “luxury truck.” Now, just think about that for a moment. For decades, Detroit has been marketing the manliness of the pick-up, the chariot that every hard-working, jeans-wearing, sunglasses-propped-up-on-the-hat-brim, toothpick-chewing, three-day-beard-stubble-sporting suburban cowboy cannot do without. In the name of the Marlboro Man and Duke Wayne, how did we get to the point where “luxury” and “pick-up truck” ended up in the sentence?

Third, my sister-in-law recently gave me what may be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. All in one box, I got a year’s supply of toothpicks, another batch of individually wrapped toothpicks for my wallet (for some reason, when I pull an unwrapped toothpick out of my wallet after a meal in a restaurant, my wife gets “that look” on her face), a salt shaker-type dispenser designed for toothpicks and an actual book on the history of the handy little piece of lumber.

Fourth, we just returned from a trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and I gotta tell you that oysters down there, particularly in a stew, are like lobsters in Maine. Even better, when we got back up here, my wife made an oyster stew—this time with green onions and celery—that was just as tasty.

As the saying goes in Africa, “A good wife is worth a thousand rubies.”

Dave Griffiths is a free-lance writer and editor who teaches writing and media relations and presentation skills to businesses, government agencies and nonprofits all over the United States. He lives in Mechanic Falls and can be reached at 345-9835 or

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