Monday, June 30, 2008

Back to the Cemetery


Remember when I told you that I set a number of traps in cemeteries?

And remember how I said I was surprised to come upon the poorly attended burial service of a relative?

Remember that I told you I loved old cemeteries?

The tombstones have stories, and if they are no longer legible, sometimes you have to imagine your own stories.

But in this cemetary, the old graves are right alongside the new, and I realized that there are stories to go along with the new tombstones too. Like Raymond, here. You can tell that he was a country fellow, liked his woods, and the deer.

This fellow really liked his machinery. There's a bucket loader, a back hoe, and a dump truck there. So it's kind of easy to imagine a story for his life.


This is the one that kept my mind busy for the entire day.

You can't beat what?
Death?
As in, none of us gets out of this life without dying?
You can't beat it: heaven's just that great?
Just a happy guy walking this earth, smiling, enjoying every moment...
and that's how his family remembers him best...
by those satisfied words?
This boy died in 1996, at age 17.
The smiley face stopped me dead in my tracks.
The words say, 'The sun (maybe a pun - son?) is gone, but I've got a light.'
I guess he was a smoker?
It seemed disrespectful to laugh out loud.
Help me imagine a story for this one.

10 comments:

steviewren said...

I have a....what does it say?

That smiley face is a bizarre thing to put on a tombstone. It makes me think "got cha" but why?

PaintedPromise said...

i have a pretty good imagination but i have NO CLUE what the story is here!

Scotty said...

Or maybe, being a spiritual sort of kid, it means that he has a different kind of light than the sun to shine on him, maybe.

I dunno, I'm not spiritual myself but it did come to mind.

debby said...

Hmmmm, Scotty...very good. Yes. I can see that. Thanks. Did you hear what George Carlin said he wanted on his tombstone?

"Wait...where'd he go? He was here just a minute ago."

Me? I want to be cremated. Just drop me in a hole and plog a lilac bush on top of me. The kids are quite indignant about this, and feel that all self respecting dead folks need a tombstone. I suppose if I do it there way, I'll have mine to say "Begin again".

debby said...

their way...good gravy...what is wrong with me this morning?!

Hal Johnson said...

"their way...good gravy...what is wrong with me this morning?!"

Thanks for doing that, Debby. Now I don't feel so alone.

I love old cemetaries too. In Old Shasta near where I live, there's a cemetary with headstones from the California Gold Rush days. I love reading the names and dates on the headstones and trying to put a story to them. But then, it always makes me sad to see the number of infants and small children who died in those days.

Pencil Writer said...

Gravy's good, but I love lilacs, too. ;-}

debby said...

Hi Hal. It is sad to the how many young children died during those days. It's also kind of interesting that sometimes you can see the same year sort of repeating like a theme through the different family plots, and suddenly you realize that a LOT of kids died that year. Wouldn't it be terrifying to be a parent, watching children die one by one, and praying that it wouldn't touch YOUR home?

Gravy IS good, but I'm thinking I won't have much use for it after I'm dead and gone PW!

Redlefty said...

I think the "son' is the light now, for the father.

So for the grieving dad, his sun is gone because his son shone brightest while he was alive. Now that he's moved on, the light isn't as visible from here anymore, but it's not gone. It's still a light.

I feel like I didn't phrase that well. But that's the story I see.

debby said...

That's how I took it, at first, like a pun. Sun/son. It really is a well tended grave. Even after 12 years, there are people grieving for this boy. And what has happened is that I find myself walking among people thinking, Is this the one? Is this the people whose hearts were broken back in 1996,