I turned 90 three years ago and thought I should get a few things looked after.
I made the worst decision of my life. I went down to the local funeral home and paid for my cremation without looking around and checking other places. The bill came to $5,206.95.
This year, I thought it was too much, so I went back to the funeral home to see if I could get any of my money back. They said no, and told me that I made a deal three years ago, and if I were going to do it today it would cost me that much and more.
This winter, I was down in Palm Springs, Calif., and got my son-in-law to check to see how much cremation would cost down in Palm Springs. It is between $700-$800 Canadian, more if the funeral home has to ship the ashes home.
My son-in-law said not to worry about shipping the ashes home, as he would bring the ashes home in his golf bag. He has to have a death certificate from the funeral home and declare them when he crosses the border. When he gets back to Canada, there is eight or nine government and private places that he has to notify. As far as I can find out there is no cost — it just takes a couple hours of his time.
Funeral homes in Manitoba supply this at a fee of $2,000-$4,000. If it happens down there, I will have the people looking after my estate pay it out of those funds. The funeral home that I have the contract with, I expect them to pay 100 per cent of what I gave them plus 10 per cent interest to the Madford Cemetery fund in Douglas.
I am going to have my ashes spread on the east half on the 22-11-17, Madford Cemetery is there. I remember swimming in the stream that runs by the corner with neighbourhood kids and playing hide-and-seek among the tombstones. The old homestead is half a mile north where I was born and I imagine I was conceived there. I lived there for 58 years, and feel quite good about slipping away there. I feel like I am going home.
I have been a very lucky fellow. Every day I have had since March 24, 1945, has been a bonus. On that day, as a sniper with the first Canadian parachute battalion, we were dropped behind enemy lines to secure bridges and road intersections for the first army that was crossing the Rhine River. I lost two of my parachute buddies and my commanding officer, Jeff Nicklim. He was a star halfback with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I remember the 1935 Grey Cup being played in Winnipeg and they won. He was playing.
My farewell party is going to be held in the Houstons Roadhouse where there is a Mitchell wagon. I remember riding on it when I was four years old with my dad as we hauled grain to Douglas. I want my grandson to put me up there while the farewell is going on for one last ride.
When you have been around the race track as many times as I have been, climbed a thousand or more hills, flipped and stumbled down the other side, eternal rest looks pretty good.
Note: Mr. Mitchell is searching for any Paratroopers who may have as connection to him from that time. If you are one or know of anyone, please contact the Plaindealer for phone numbers for Mr. Mitchell.