Sunday, May 8, 2011
Mother's Day at The Cemetery
These are our five grandkids at Niagara Falls, 2007, the first time they were ever together--and probably the last. Everybody lives somewhere else. It takes a village, but most of us are living in cities of business associates. We have our kids for a minute. After that they're gone.
Once your kids are fully grown, middle aged adults living around the country with your grandchildren who you hardly know, Mother's and Father's Day become days to remember the dead. Honey and I go to the cemetery to leave stones on our parents' stones--and on some on their friends' stones as well. I guess the crowd all bought plots at the same time from the same plot salesman thinking it would be great going through eternity together.
Leaving stones instead of flowers is a Jewish tradition. Flowers die and need to be cleaned up. Stones, on the other hand, just sit there needing no additional maintenance services. BUT there is the danger of the stones falling off the stones and getting caught up in the lawn mower blades grinding them useless and a costly repair. Flowers? Stones? Take your pick.
I like to take a stone of just the right size. One you can see from a distance, but without your glasses. These are not easy to find. Some parking lots around town have beds dividing the rows filled with them. For a while, I kept track of those lots and Honey and I would stop on our way to pick up a few. Then one year I extended our patio with slate blocks and brilliantly filled the crevices between with perfect stones for our yearly cemetery run. Not pebbles. Not rocks. You don't want your cemetery stone to be too piddly or too flashy. Too piddly a stone and for sure there's a bent blade in the future. Too flashy a stone and you risk attracting unsavory sorts, the kind who would steal the stone off your loved one's stone and use it for their very own. At the cemetery, You run into all sorts. Sometimes your cousins, aunts and uncles.
This is my favorite cemetery picture. My family gathered around my grandma and grandfather's stone in the first Jewish cemetery in Detroit. There's not a stone on top of that stone;
no one wanted to add any more weight. I think it's a hoot. Very Adams Family. Watch the thorns Gomez, they're lovely this time of year.