It seems to have become a tradition to re-post this 2013 column on November 1. At my house, Day of the Dead season opened a couple of weeks ago when I started a new book project: a sequel to The Glen Rock Book of the Dead. It will be called The Baltimore Book of the Dead, again named after the place it was written, again containing very short lyric essays, each a portrait of someone who has died. The first one is my mother, The Golfer, who left us right after I finished the first book, and I’ve got a handful of others already. I can picture the two little books standing next to each other, so maybe it will actually happen and you will read it someday. If I continue to be swept up in the writing, you might be reading essays from the archive for a couple of months, but I’ve been digging around and there are some very ancient ones that I bet most BFB readers have never seen. Happy Day of the Dead, shots of tequila all around.
Drape a small table with a cloth in the favorite color of the person you loved who has died. Adorn it with candles, flowers (marigolds are traditional) and framed photographs. Set out some favorite foods: a slice of pie, a bottle of beer, a Milky Way. Add the instruments of their hobbies and vices: a pack of Newports, a deck of cards, a banjo. A People magazine, a racquet, a Terrible Towel. A copy of Peter Pan, of The Joy of Cooking, of the Bible.