Monday, April 20, 2009

Tombstones and Epitaphs

The caskets were easy, Dad left us first, we spent some time
on that one, Mom's turn we just said get us another one just
like the other one. You put them into a concrete vault,then bury
them never to be seen again.

Headstones though they are forever. They put me in charge,
as usual I procrastinated, not that I didn't think about it,
just that I didn't do anything about it. This past week Sis put me on
notice, time to get it done, Memorial day is fast

The easy part was finding a company to deal with, a place
between here and the folks seemed right, they have all their own
equipment, do all their own work, I like the boss, Randy, he
does all the selling himself. I find the selection problem
difficult simply because the selection is so large. I
learn the granite comes from quarry's all over the world,
Cold Springs Mn., the Dakotas, Georgia, India. After three
trips I pick out a deep red from India. Finished on all four
sides, serpentine top. Randy explains it this way, you pay for the size of the stone, the quality of the stone and then the amount of finishing put into the stone.

Sounds easy,buying a headstone, it was not. Dad left us we still had Mom, still
had a home to go back to, after losing her it has been a
little harder. I find myself more emotional, more affected,
more introspective, I believe it brings ones own end into
focus a bit, at least it has for me.

There are grape vines, birds, butterfly's, a complete book
of clip art to choose from, fire engines, motorcycles, they
both liked birds so some finches seemed appropriate.

I have always liked epitaphs, thought there should be some
attempt to sum up your life, what you stood for.

Mom was easy, "Always a smile, never a harsh word, she was
our sunshine".

I had considered "They never gave up on us", although it
sounds good and certainly would apply to Mom I think Dad
gave up on us, at least my brother and I several times.

Saturday morning I made another trip to Worthington.
I called my brother and one of my sisters from
the office, need some help, what about Dad's
epitaph? Larry thought should be something about the
customer is always right, or about getting on the other side
of the counter something Dad was pretty vocal about.

He paused as he thought and then came up with this one which
he said Dad got from Grandpa, "You can judge a man by how
well he sweeps the floor". Larry went on to say he had seen
Dad use it when someone came out looking for a job in the
past, he would hand them a broom and tell ask them to sweep
the floor. If they felt it was below their station in life
or did it poorly, missing the corners, sweeping around
things instead of picking them up, well, that was what Dad
wanted to know.

I kind liked it, the fellow at the tombstone store loved it,
a call to my sister Laura and it was a done deal.

I finally got a hold of my other sister on the way home only to have it
nixed. Made Dad sound to judgmental and she pointed
out a man could be a excellent floor sweeper and still beat
his wife and neglect his kids. Points well made and taken. I start over.

Dad being Dad it is easy to come up with some that run true
but we can't really use like, "Never trust a stock broker".

He was adamant about us picking him a lot in the high ground
at the cemetery as the family plot Grandpa and Grandma and
Uncle Charles have is on lower ground which sometimes has
ground water at the 6 foot level. And Dad always made a
point of using high ground for any building he put up. Loved
nice views.

A engraving of a man standing upright with his hand over his
brow Indian scout style with the words "View is great from
here", makes me chuckle.

"It's not a good deal unless everyone is happy" comes to
mind as does,"Worked hard, played it straight, did good by
us and Mom".

Or maybe simply, "She was his Sunshine"

I kind of like that one.

Sunday,April 27th update

Looks like today is going to be Pistol the gelded Donkeys
big big day. A cold rain started last night and is
continuing this morning, felt sorry for the rest of my
animals by now dripping wet so opened the gate to the barn
pen letting them all back together. Everyone was out went
in, Stoney stayed in, looks exhausted. Pistol is following
Peanut the new mare around the yard in the rain, holding his
head sideways, curling his lips into a big grin giving
everything a good sniff.

I feel like I dropped a hooker off at a Boy Scouts Jamboree.

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