Friday, July 25, 2008

A Grand Inheritance

My brother and I stood together at the calling hours for my dad a day after his birthday and two days before the birth of my brother’s first child. He had been killed earlier in the week by a reckless driver. The long hours passed and we politely greeted people who we knew well many years ago and others we had never met. We smiled, hugged and made pleasantries. We had long since come up with a half dozen stock conversations with jokes perfected by repeated use. We were tired and sad. Near the end of the night a middle age man reached us and kindly introduced himself and said nice things about Dad. After the standard exchange, however, he told us that he had some ‘merchandise’ that my Dad had acquired and not used yet. Apparently he was holding about $1200 dollars of this ‘material’ that my dad bought and he went to great lengths to suggest that it was some of the very best ‘stuff.’ After opining about the quality of this ‘asset’ he told us to call him when we were ready and we could talk about what we wanted to do with it. Nic and I listened politely. When he was done, we looked at each other, and then one of us said in our well trained funeral voice, “I’m sorry sir. We have no idea what you are talking about.” He looked up in surprise and said, like it was the most natural thing in the word, ‘Semen. I have about $1200 dollars of Bull Semen in my freezer that your dad purchased.’ We struggled to keep a straight face. You see Nic had just spent three years in a nice Chicago suburb and I was a Californian. People we knew didn’t keep bull semen in their freezers. But sure enough, I recognized the man as the gentlemen that showed up a couple times a year with a shoulder length glove to artificially inseminate select cows with the seed of some of the finest bulls in the land. We assured him that we would be in touch and he left. Nic turned to me before talking with the next guest and said, ‘Of all the things I never really expected to inherit, this ranks.’

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