taxidermy runs in the family

I bought my father a death certificate search yesterday. It cost twenty-seven dollars. (This is not the strangest thing I’ve ever done, but I believe it to be the most unsettling credit card purchase I’ve ever made, and that’s saying something, as I just sent someone a pewter-cast bat skull tie-pin as a birthday present.) Basically this means I have hired the Department of Vital Statistics to search through the death records of the city of my choice, in the three year period of my choice, to try and find out if my father has died. Course, a few hours after I did that, some very delicate social grape-vine contacts informed me that he’s still alive. So, okay, wasted money, but at least it rescued me from my position of doubt and perplexity – the uncomfortable dilemma: what outcome I was hoping for?

Fun fact: Anyone may order and receive a death certificate for someone who died in British Columbia. Release of death certificates is not limited to immediate family.

Back east, my amazing uncle Francis unearthed all of my ancestral paperwork, like my grandfather’s birth certificate, his marriage license to my grandmother, (which, amusingly, lists her birthplace as only “Russia” and her occupation as “spinster”), and my father’s birth certificate, and e-mailed them to me as high quality scans. They are beautiful artifacts, history manifest. Now, according to the immigration requirements, it’s a matter of either signing an affidavit that states my father is too dangerous to contact or having a family member far, far away request a copy of his current identification. Either way, it’s very likely that this will wrap up much sooner than expected.

Fun Fact: According to my father’s birth certificate, my grandfather was an embalmer.

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