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Jewish World Review August 23, 2002 / 15 Elul, 5762

Art Buchwald

Art Buchwald
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Consumer Reports

Ashes to ashes | I have decided to do it. I am going to be cremated and then have my ashes dropped over every cocktail party on Martha's Vineyard. It's the only way I can make all the parties held here in the summer.

I want Cape Air, the friendly nine-seat airline, to fly me.

I imagine it this way. The plane takes off from Martha's Vineyard Airport, and Mike Wallace is in charge of dropping the ashes. As per my instructions, I want some of me to be dropped over Rose Styron's lawn. She gave so many wonderful parties when I was alive. As I fly over, Walter Cronkite says to David McCullough, are those Art Buchwald's ashes?"

"It's hard to say. There are so many ashes dropping on Rose's these days because she gives the most parties. It could be anybody's."

The Cape Air plane heads for Edgartown and Carol Biondi's house. All her guests look up, and once again Mike lets the ashes float down.

"Who is it?" someone asks Carol.

She replies, "Art Buchwald. He said he was coming if it killed him."

Everyone raises their glasses.

The pilot turns his plane towards Rollnick's house. An Air Force jet buzzes the Cape Air plane. Mike says, "Bill and Hillary Clinton must be there. We will drop some ashes as long as it's not a fund-raiser. Buchwald never went to political fund-raisers on the island." Mike drops a handful of ashes just in case it's a social gathering.

Then the pilot heads toward Chilmark and Kate Whitney's house. He asks Mike if he still has enough ashes. Mike replies, "I still have half an urn."

The party is in full swing and Kate is not only serving drinks but also lobster and fresh corn. Once again the crowd looks up to the sky.

"Who is it?" the guests ask the owner of a sailboat who is scanning the sky with binoculars.

He replies, "I'm almost sure it's Buchwald."

"It can't be. He has maintained for years he would never come to Chilmark because you always need a map."

"He must have changed his mind. After all, this is his last hurrah."

Mike says to the pilot, "I still have a quarter tank of ashes in the urn. Take me over to Menemsha. Vernon and Ann Jordan are throwing a birthday party."

The urn is almost empty and the plane has just have enough ashes left to make it back to the airport.

Mike is pleased with the evening, but waiting for his plane when they when they land is a Coast Guard officer who says Mike can't drop ashes without a permit.

Mike just smiles and says, "I'm sorry, and if Buchwald were here he would be sorry too."

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© 2002, TMS