Stretched out in the Lazy-Boy rocker, book open on his chest rising and falling with his breath, glasses pushed up on his forehead ~ this is the archetypically eternal image of my father. I knew that someday the old Lazy-Boy would be empty, and yet it could never be, nothing could challenge the rise and fall of his breath, each cycle new yet timeless.
Thus my surprise when the meteor crashed through the roof and passed through my father's body, the old Lazy-Boy rocker, the floor, and so on down into the earth so long ago covered by our suburban home.
The heat of the meteor had cooked father's insides and left a hole of perfectly circular integrity, like in the cartoons I had watched as a child. What the cartoons did not intimate, however, was the scent of cooked meat which caused me to salivate, inappropriate though I knew this to be.
I would have stood there staring all day had not a piece of burning wood fallen on my head and set my hair on fire.
Acting quickly, I smothered the flames by burying my head in the big, old, floppy pillow that had always sat on the sofa, the primordial image of a 'stuffed thing'. I had never appreciated it until then.
I assessed the situation. There was little that could be done for father. The meteor had obliterated his diaphragm and the lower portions of both lungs.
I was saddened, but the expression of grief would have to wait for a moment more opportune. As the timbers of the roof groaned, I regretted the urgency of the situation which made recovery of my father's body ill advised. I looked one last time upon him reclining in his Lazy-Boy rocker as he had ever done (though previously in a more integrated way) and then recalled that long ago Vikings burned their honoured dead in longships. In a similar manner my father would begin his journey to the beyond in the old Lazy-Boy rocker. Comforted, I called the emergency number and left the house.
My sister's blue pick-up truck arrived shortly after the fire department. She had taken mother shopping. They were dismayed when I related to them what had happened and that the meteor no doubt still smouldered below the foundations.
"Meteorite," my sister said, "They're meteors when they're aloft, but when they fall to earth we call them meteorites."
I stood corrected.©1996