Monday 17 April 2017

Good People

I mentioned yesterday about going to the town of Pa'ia and then heading east from there to a beach with large Hona or turtles. It was cool. The drive back was very slow because, well, there didn't seem to be a real good reason except that we had to drive back through the town of Pa'ia. This gave me plenty of time to look around the countryside and allow my mind to drift off. Normally that is something I try to avoid while driving, but I was living pono. 

As we drove or sat, we spent a good deal of the time either approaching, passing or being past a couple of cemeteries. For a small town on an island that cremated and then spreads the ashes into the sea, there were a lot of gravestones. I would have liked to pull over and visit the graveyard, but I didn't want to lose my place in traffic. Maybe later.

I have been thinking about graveyards and dying for the past few months. Not that I am ill or plan to be so in the near or distant future, but it is interesting. You have all driven past roadside shrines to someone's son or daughter that passed away in a car accident. Many years ago, Louise and I were driving thru one of the states under Alberta at night and kept seeing these reflective crosses at the roadside. They were generally at corners, some by themselves and some clustered together. It was a very effective way of encouraging drivers to slow down. It worked for me anyhow.

One of the things we like to do if we have the time when we are back east is to visit Louise's Mom and Dad's graves to clean them off and say hello. The graves are mostly forlorn and unkempt, forgotten by loved ones caught up in their day to day living. Most cemeteries that I have visited are quiet and peaceful. The reason they are quiet and peaceful is that no one goes there. I don't really understand why we have cemeteries. Yes, I know that we can't have bodies rotting at the sides of the road, but you would think that in the thousands of years we have been on the planet we could have come up with a better way to honour the dead.

A cemetery is often located on prime city real estate. Originally they were on the outskirts of town, but over the years the towns grew around them. These "downtown" resting places are pretty much full so there isn't a lot of income being generated and there is upkeep and costs associated with all parcels of land.

I understand that in the past when a person of particular import died we would want to find a way to remember him or her for all time. that is why they were buried with pomp and splendour. Probably the less important but well to do people wanted to be remembered for all time and their families put up elaborate displays designed to tickle their fantasies as well as honour the dead. The truth is that even someone that is very important to the human race, their resting place will be forgotten in a few centuries.

You and I? Our children will maybe visit on the anniversary of our passing, maybe a birthday or if they happen to be feeling guilty about how they treated us when we were alive. The grand children will stop by once or twice to keep their mother or father company and maybe if you were a nice person and not a crotchety old bastard, they will come every couple of years. That's it!

Sure your grave might be visited by some relative doing a genealogical background. There are some people who take rubbings of interesting or famous stones, buyt you aren't interesting or famous. The only people who will visit are underage kids swilling stolen bottles of beer and they will sit on your stone or worse, piss on it. 

Within two to three generations you will have been completely forgotten. that is fifty or sixty years. Sad really to think of all those people who wanted to be remembered after they passed away. I would like to think that my significant people think highly of me now when I am alive. When I die it would be nice to think that some story or joke I told is being passed on. The only true immortality is the people you leave behind and if they are good people who beget good people, who beget good people, who beget good people, etc.

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