The other day my boss told me about an old cemetery he came across and was wondering if I had been there. It’s new to me so I think this weekend I might go take a look.
The conversation turned to some of the things I’ve seen recently in cemeteries. As I told my mom, if the grave isn’t at least 100 years old, I’m not really interested. Unless there’s a war marker. Those are cool. Sad but cool.
The chat moved on to recent developments in the trappings of death. There are several “fashions” that have recently popped up that I find a little … odd. Quite frankly, while I feel old cemeteries, even abandoned ones, to be calm and peaceful places, new cemeteries are getting creepy.
Mike asked if I had seen the solar Christmas lights. They might not be Christmas lights exactly, but they are small solar lights. Ok, so we put flowers or s small stone on a grave. I’ve seen holiday decorations on old graves. Christmas lights are just a shade over the edge.
I wouldn’t doubt there are some solar fairy lights out there in cemeteries. The first time I saw a solar light at a marker, it gave me pause. Why put a solar light at a marker? Cemeteries close at dusk, so those lights don’t help the living find a path. The dead don’t need nightlights. There’s something a little Bonnie Blue Butler about it — Mammy repeating to Melanie what Rhett said to Scarlett about not burying Bonnie “when you know she’s afraid of the dark.” Well, since the person is dead, that’s no longer an issue for them, I’m guessing. They’ve moved on. If they haven’t, that would be the first ghost I’ve heard of to be afraid of the dark.
Flashy markers are nothing new. Look at the pyramids. As markers go, you’d have to admit, those are pretty flashy.
A recent development in marker flash are the scenic carvings on the headstones. Fishing scenes, prop planes, a beloved pet are all common themes when you go beyond the usual symbols and names. Recently full-color drawings of “My RV” or favorite model of car or whatever, have started to be engraved on the stone.
The ultimate in flash that I’ve seen around this area is the multimedia addition. There are photos of the dead and a little speaker or video player. Favorite music and/or a video will play at the grave. But people! The ones triggered by a motion detector are just wrong! There is nothing worse than walking through a nice, peaceful cemetery, respectfully picking my way though the markers, taking photos and talking to the interred, then suddenly some music plays or a voice speaks from the grave behind me. It puts the heart in me sideways. Seriously! Someone could get killed that way!
As music goes, I find “Rock of Ages” to be worse than “Are You Going to Be My Girl.” I have given this some thought as to what sort of music would be good, if I had such a thing at my grave. “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” is one my mom would want. I’m thinking Matchbox 20’s “Disease” pushes the borders of taste. But I think I’d want one of my singer friends to record an appropriately altered version of “Poor Judd is Dead” from “Oklahoma.”
Nah. There are an amazing number of people who, while walking through a cemetery, would lack the perspective and sense of humor necessary to cope with hearing that when visiting poor, old Aunt Fannie and Uncle Fred.
Besides, that’s just creepy.