Friday, November 11, 2016

My Dad's New Neighbors

It had been a while since I had gone to see my dad.  His funeral was in January.  This was my first visit since then.

It was an odd experience.  I have often stood in places and felt the weight of history, perhaps even the faint shadows of famous people who have stood in the same place.  But standing at my father's grave I did not get much of a sense of presence at all.

I had always imagined that he would be buried near the farm where he grew up.  Increasingly in his final years he spoke of it often.  But it did not turn out that way.  Arrangements were made hastily and his final resting place is far from anywhere he would call home.  So far he does not even have a grave marker.

On a day where it was not easy to find much to smile about I did rather enjoy a couple of my dad's new neighbors.

On the next little hill over we find this Tree Shaped Tombstone.  At first glance it appears to be a standard version.  

But I always take a closer look, and I am glad that I did because I found something that I had been trying to find for years...

Its a squirrel.  He's got an acorn.  Now with due respect to serious students of tombstones I think this is not an allegorical message of any sort.  It is pure whimsy and I sure appreciate it.

Now, if you want something really whimsical you could follow the squirrel's line of sight for a couple of hundred yards and you would encounter this:

It sure looks like a giant walnut to me.  Other than the name on the other side - and its a very commonplace one - no clues as to why this person chose to be remembered for all time in this eccentric fashion.

I know it does not matter that my father is "far from home" and surrounded by strangers.  In life dad was a quiet, retiring fellow who did not make friends quickly.  I don't actually think the shades of the departed loiter around the tombstones after midnight.  But hey, I could be wrong. And if so it seems as if a couple of dad's new neighbors are gifted with a sense of humor.

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