December 22, 2007

How to visit a grave.

Do you visit a grave? Do you have a tradition? Pebble on the headstone? Something else? I saw this yesterday, done precisely the same for each of 4 or 5 graves in a line:

DSC06970.JPG

A small fire had burnt out. Each grave had bright flowers, a peeled banana, an opened tinfoil packet of rice and some other food (possibly chicken), and an opened can of some drink that had what looked like corn pictured on it.

MEANWHILE: "Decorations can be an impediment to backhoes, and there are liability issues in tripping over candy canes."

MYSTERY SOLVED: The canned drink is Yeo's Soybean Milk.

22 comments:

Ron said...

I used to visit a grave with the wife of a friend who died in an auto accident. She asked me to come with her on their anniversary because she didn't want to go alone. We did this for several years, until she also died in an accident when she went to visit her parents. I haven't been back to his grave since.

Jennifer said...

My grandmother always left my grandpa a glass of water and flowers. No food, though.

Maguro said...

The Japanese have a tradition of leaving food items at grave sites for the nourishment of the dead. They also like canned corn soup, which you can buy hot and ready to drink in vending machines there.

rhhardin said...

Vicki contemplating the stone of Annie. (The plastic line is not for tying her but for dragging around so she could always be collected - stomp on end of line and work your way down to her - and corrected without calling her. If you called her and she came, then you'd be correcting her for coming, not say for crossing the property line. Dogs don't know where the other end of the line is, only that you can always get to them somehow. Soon you don't need the line.)

Anyway there's a little rise in the ground that you can feel, even under the snow, when you walk out to the bird feeders in the morning. So it's a daily visit, you could say.

Annie did a similar thing for Susie's marker, though I don't have a photo.

The Irish leave yellow snow.

john said...

There is a particular gravestone in the northern portion of a small cemetary in northern Minnesota. The cemetary is partitioned as to religion, with the northern part being the Jewish one. Greater traffic to this site is evidenced by the hundreds of pebbles atop the stone. The stone marks the graves of Abraham and Beatrice Zimmerman.

Trooper York said...

That's a Santeria thing. Don't touch the chicken and rice or you will turn into a enchilada.

ricpic said...

What, no lamb on a spit? Cheapskate pagans!

former law student said...

What, none of you guys drink Yeo's Soybean Milk?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Soymilk_can_and_glass.jpg

Trumpit said...

By way of disclaimer, I don't find it the least bit morbid to focus on grave sites, cemeteries, etc. The real estate agent euphemistically calls them "quiet neighbors." I've said on occasion that it is a waste of valuable land that could better serve the living. But that discounts the fact that they do serve the living, for a while at least, benefiting the bereaved until they too are gone from the scene. Perhaps there should be a legal time limit on graves, say one hundred years. There's probably not much left in the coffin by then anyway except for some bones. The soul and the spirit are long gone by then. If you were a soul or a ghost would you stick around past one hundred years? Of course not. How dull!

Trooper York said...

Every year on August 16 a bunch of us Yankee fans visit the Babe’s gravesite at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorn, New York. We always leave at the grave a dozen hot dogs, a case of beer and a gallon of sauerkraut. And a whore. It’s a tradition

rhhardin said...

Cemeteries are good sites for training a dog to track, if they're infrequented enough.

Lots of grass to cause a crush scent, and lots of markers for you to remember where the track went.

In the last few years, more no-dogs signs have been cropping up, evidently from the nanny demographic in towns that include a university.

Beth said...

Each year on All Saint's Day, Nov. 1, Catholics in New Orleans clean and tend their family tombs. That might involve wiping it with soapy water then whitewashing it, scrubbing the bricks, and removing the weeds growing from the cracks, or occasionally fixing the plaster and mortar. Some years we travel across Lake Pontchartrain on that evening to visit an old graveyard where this tending is an all-day, all-night event. The graves and tombs hold the remains of slaves and free people of color, Creoles of African, Native American, French and Spanish descent. Their descendants line the graves with patterns of candles and flowers. It's beautiful and a good time to pray and reflect.

Beth said...

Perhaps there should be a legal time limit on graves, say one hundred years.

trumpit, in places where families use tombs over generations, the people are interred in coffins that will decay quickly, and then in a few years, their bones are dropped to the bottom of the tomb so a new occupant can be placed in the tomb compartment. It's an efficient use of space.

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe said...

Yes I do. My parents and my daughter.

John Stodder said...

I visit my former wife's grave on the anniversary of her death, Mother's Day and sometimes near Christmas. My son always goes with me. She died almost nine years ago, so our visits are less frequent. We used to go on her birthday, and I'd take my son up there on his birthday, but we don't do that now.

We clean the grave with spray-cleaner and paper towels (it's actually a plaque lying flush with the lawn, and her ashes are underneath it), and put flowers in the vase provided at the site. The vase is installed upside down, but you can take it out, put water in it for the flowers and then lock it back in right side up. Then we take turns talking to her privately. I'm always curious what my son is saying to her. He never tells me. We always drive off talking about something else.

A few weeks ago, my wife now went up and visited my former wife's grave. I found that incredibly moving.

Trooper York said...

John, that was a moving and touching story. God bless you and your family. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Ron said...

Trooper: What, only one whore for the Bambino? Oh, yeah, I forget...hes's dead and all....

Ron said...

hmmm... what would Ted Williams' head get? Is he dead...or just on haitus?

Trooper York said...

Well Ron, there is one thing for sure we know that Ted William's head won't get. Head.

John Stodder said...

Thanks Trooper York. Thanks for improving the internet, too, via your comments on Althouse.

mutteringsfromthemoor said...

I went to the burial site of King Arthur recently and someone had left 4 apples and 4 biscuits on his grave. Have been trying to find out what it means, if anything. There's a photo on my blog if anyone wants to look.