At this joyous time of year, an old man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of death.
After the sound of bills hitting the bottom of mailboxes supersedes the strains of “Auld Lang Syne,” it’s only natural. Who’s going to pay all these after you, you know, die ‘n ‘at?
A few years ago I decided that in order to avoid paying bills, I’d die on New Year’s Day, before bills arrive. I would leave my body to science. I like the idea because it’s cheap – in fact, it’s free.
All that’s involved is for someone to call a toll-free number and – voila! – your body is whisked away, eliminating the necessity of a costly funeral or cremation. If scientists want to reanimate me, so be it. A second career in politics sounds plausible.
But just last week I heard about “Forever Aging,” and now I’ve a yearning for an urning.
“Forever Aging” is the brain child of retired attorney William Elam of Kentucky. While attending a fundraising bazaar last year Elam, 77, noticed several products made from reclaimed bourbon barrel wood. He left the show with the idea for “Forever Aging” funeral urns – they seemed a natural for Kentucky, where bourbon is king. Rumor has it that several people are buried with their favorite bottle of bourbon inside the casket each year. So, Elam thought, why not have your ashes put into a small bourbon barrel?
Elam researched online, where he found urns made of wood reclaimed from whiskey and wine casks, but in traditional square or oblong shapes. When he found a manufacturer who made small barrels that could be used to store wine or whiskey at home, Elam ordered one without a spigot and began to work on a prototype. “Forever Aging” urns are the result.
Alcohol is stored inside the 3-liter urns, which are made of white oak and have a charred interior, long enough to leave an aroma inside. Elam then sells them in partnership with a friend through the Bogati Urn Co. in Sarasota, Fla., a wholesaler who deals directly with funeral homes. Private customers can order one through the Clark Legacy Center in Kentucky.
Elam told Kentucky’s State Journal newspaper that reaction has been largely positive, with several orders from around the United States. Elam also has had discussions about selling his urns in Japan, where 99.4% of bodies are cremated – and where bourbon sales have experienced rapid growth since 2013.
A tisket, a tasket, a barrel for a casket?
I’ll drink to that.