Friday, March 29, 2013

Accokeek, Maryland

Ears of Wheat:  A sheaf of wheat represents the harvest, so fitting of the agrarian economy that hugged the Chesapeake's shores.  It is the forerunner of what we see today in cemeteries: stems of wheat with full ears of grain. Wheat has long been a symbol of a long and productive life. Added symbolism: In each seed resides the promise of rebirth. Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery. [2012]

Sacred to the memory

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Williamsburg, Virginia

Ears of Wheat:   Wheat seems to be an ever popular symbol for memorializing the dead.  Why?  First, it is deeply rooted in scripture.  Second, it is present at the communion table in the form of bread, symbolic of the body of Christ.  "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).  Williamsburg Memorial Park.  [2013]

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menomonie, Wisconsin

Ears of Wheat:  Count the ears of wheat on each headstone, then count the offspring below:  Jeff, Andre, Kris, Eric, Chad.  Five ears, five children.  There's no better way to celebrate the fullness of the harvest than with a grain which is symbolic of fertility and a metaphor for the cycle of life and death.  Evergreen Cemetery.  [2012]

Loving Parents of Jeff, Andre, Kris, Eric, Chad

Friday, March 22, 2013

High Point, North Carolina

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:  Most of us will own a dozen or so cars throughout our lives.  Some us will choose one of them to make the final journey.  Which one?  The one that brings back our youth!  Doesn't this one put a smile on your face?  It has a happy look about it, and is sure to be a conversation starter for future generations.  Oakwood Municipal Cemetery.  [2013]


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chesapeake, Virginia

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:  Would you identify the conveyance here as an airliner?  Since it was an engine in the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, in a way, it was.  The company's motto, 'Through the Heart of the South,' also makes it a marker of Southern culture.  L.D.M.'s grave also illustrates a complementary headstone and footstone.  Chesapeake Memorial Gardens.  [2012]

"Glory Bound"


Monday, March 18, 2013

New Freedom, Pennsylvania

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:  A pilot, no doubt. Perhaps one who took the lyrics to heart: "I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky." And, as if to emphasize the point, the propeller is in everlasting motion. Freed from its earthly shackles, his spirit now soars. New Freedom Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, March 15, 2013

Delmar, Delaware

The Land of Make-Believe:   Delaware may be the flattest state in the Union, but it is mountains that dominate this loony vision of heaven.  Loony?  Don't look for a loon on the lake, look for a Looney Tune.  Elmer Fudd, rifle in hand, seems ready to take aim at the moose, even though they stand on different sides of the river that separates today from tomorrow.  St. Stephen Cemetery.  [2010]


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cuba, Alabama

The Land of Make-Believe:  It seems more obvious when you see it in a cemetery: Superman's shield looks like a polished diamond, here perhaps a symbol for the multifaceted life lived by the departed. Pop culture is beginning to take its place along religious culture as a source of icons of personal identity. Clay Memorial Cemetery. [2013]

There will be an
Emptiness in our
Hearts forever
For you

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hampton, Virginia

The Land of Make-Believe:  The creatures of comics and children's books have gradually been finding a home in cemeteries.  Said Winnie:  "A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside."  Did you know that Winnie is named after Winnipeg, Manitoba?  The monument and marker pictured below is at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Zoo.  Oakland Cemetery.  [2012]

We Miss You
Huny Pot

"On August 24th, 1914, while on route overseas during World War I, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, of the 34th Fort Garry Horse Regiment of Manitoba, purchased a black Canadian bear cub at White River, Ontario.  He named her Winnie after Winnipeg, his home town. . . ."

Friday, March 8, 2013

San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos Cemetery:  What does that mean?  Humor or an insult?  Don't you wonder about the context?  We can surmise that this grave is empty, so these words were picked not by his survivors, but by the person whose last journey will eventually lead this way.  If you wanted future generations and nosey strangers to know something about you, what would your final words to humanity be?  [2012]

You cannot pick a lock
with a banana

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos Cemetery:  Read both sides of this headstone and you will feel like you knew him, though we may suspect his life was not exactly lived in alphabetical order . . . or any order!  Does it surprise you that his progeny now numbers through Roy IV?  And, isn't Roy the perfect name for an iconic Texan?  [2012]

Builder of Hospitals
Colorful Storyteller
Drinker of Vodka
Eternal Optimist
Fisher of Stocked Ponds
Grandfather of Roy IV, Ryan, Jake, Lexie
Husband of Many Women
Inventor of Legends
Junior (Son of Original Roy)
Keeper of Secrets
Longwinded Talker
Married 9 or 10 Times (We Lost Count)
Nobody's Fool
Owner of Bubba the Bird Dog
Preacher’s Son
Questioner of Limitations
Roy III and Lisa’s Dad
Serious Republican
Three-Time Millionaire (Lost all three.)
Usually Rebounded Quickly
Very Snappy Dresser
World Champion Horse Breeder
Xylophone Player (No, not really.)
You ought to have known him.
Zeroed in at the End, Made Peace with God

Monday, March 4, 2013

San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos Cemetery:  Simple state pride or raging nationalism?  Texans use their 'state shape' for everything, so why not for grave marking?  Geographer Richard Francaviglia has even written a book on Texas map mania.  It's called The Shape of Texas.   The outline is sometimes free-standing, but often just etched into the tombstone.  Always:  they're big.  [2012]


Friday, March 1, 2013

Montgomery, Alabama

Methodist Branding:  Acts 2:3: "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." That's what happened to Jesus' disciples on the day of Pentecost: each was anointed by the Holy Spirit. Do you see the tongues of fire in the Cross and Flame? In this rendition, it seems like the flame has been affected by the "blowing of a violent wind" (Acts 2:2). Greenwood Cemetery.  [2013]