Saturday, June 12, 2010
Religious symbols are common in older grave sites expressing the values and customs of a specific theology. Angels, crosses are abundant in Christian cemeteries. In the mid to late 1800's, however, other motifs also appeared. As people became more prosperous works of art were often included. Simple headstones were replaced or supplemented by larger statues depicting the book of life, personifications of death, and some that defy easy labeling. Some are hideous but some of these are elegant examples of quality artistic form. All sought to express the pain of loss and the hope for something more.
Victorian sensibilities are often seen by moderns as morbid but in truth they were realistic. They understood that, as much as we might dislike it, death is a part of life. It is the goal of every person to enter the door marked "Exit."
Where we go and what happens after are the discussions of theologians and scientists. How we go and when is usually a thing of chance. The one sure thing is that death is subtle presence we all have to come to term with and the sight of these gentle angels weeping encourages us to do it now and not later.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Doris Arline Priest was born May 20, 1934 to Melvin Marion Priest and Velma Dora Cochren Priest, in Flatcreek, Barry Co., Missouri. She died of pneumonia on Jan. 31, 1935 at eight months of age. She is buried in the Quaker Cemetery near Cassville. [Information, including spelling of name from her death certificate].
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Pea Ridge. At battlefields across the south - Shiloh for example - similar dense coverage often surrounded and covered the areas of conflict. At Shiloh soldiers had to walk right through a path with packed foliage on either side and the result earned it the nickname, the Hornet's Nest. Such scenes bring to vivid life the struggles and challenges our ancestors as they fought in these locations. In some of these places, sadness is a fog covering the ground and nurturing the trees.
Friday, March 19, 2010
An almost lifelong motocycle racer, Melvin Priest maintained a love of the bikes long after his racing days were over. He had over 200 trophies for races he had won or placed in from the 1950's and 1960's. His name was once mentioned by the announcer in a race covered by ABC's "Wide World of Sports." He passed away Monday, April 12, 1999, services were held at Long-Bumback Funeral Home, conducted by Rev. larry Garfield and internment was at Howell Cemetery, Milford, Mo. His pallbearers were: Randy Crockett, Wayne Wilson, Mark Cross, Larry Martinez, Jon DeMent, and Gary Potter.
It has been said a people are judged by the way they treat their dead. Once families regularly visited graves, tenderly planting flowers and shurbs, and adding elaborate headstones with impressive art sculptures. Where Victorian trends tended to be overly concerned with the dead, the modern trend to replacing headstones with numbers and flat headstones to enhance mowing efficiency seems merely crass and distant. If a people are judged by how they treat their dead, one has to wonder what history will say of us?