Memorials Of By-Gone Ways

With another Sunday morning having arrived, my first duty of the day was to get to my quiet little darkened corner and begin my contemplative prayer session, and the most surprising thing about today’s, was the clarity of my reflections and petitions, where normally I have to do a little fighting to keep those temporal thoughts at bay. I was actually happy about it because I managed to migrate thru this past week’s field of landmines. The details would likely bore you, so it’s best I say nothing and move forward. Considering how this morning’s prayer session went, I’d say I’ve got a much better week in store for me.

After getting a few office things taken care of, I changed my clothes and headed over to another outdoor project, and in spite of my having put in only about two and a half hours of work, I had to quit because of those swarms of gnats that just wouldn’t leave me alone, and since I’d forgotten my bug repellant at office, I endured as much as I could until I couldn’t take it any longer. As usual, that nasty flea bite I got on my arm yesterday, is now looking pretty ugly, so give it a few days and it’ll start healing. I know it’s a genetic pre-disposition which is generational, but the only question that haunts me, is how those great-great-great grandparents of mine managed to endure flea bites because they didn’t have the medications we now have at our disposal. The only other possibility, is that they lived in an area of Europe where fleas didn’t exist. Oh well, I guess I have to accept the roses of summer with their accompanying thorns.

When I returned to office and got myself cleaned up and changed back into my regular Sunday clothes, I sat down at the piano and got some practicing done on four pieces I’m working at getting cracked. Since the four of them are completely different, I felt I had a good sight-reading workout, and especially since I wasn’t being interrupted by office phone calls.

My two o’clock showing over at Prairie Place on 1st went well, and since the buyer had her family members there, and judging by how receptive they were to the whole package of senior living, I won’t be surprised if she ends up purchasing it. Since she’s been living in the same residence for nearly 20 years, I’m sure there’ll be some internal struggling before the trigger gets pulled. Those life transitions are always hard, but most don’t realize until it too late, that the weights of time and age, sooner or later catch up with us all. I’d rather make the move while I can, instead of waiting until it’s even more of a struggle when discovering the thoughts of making a move are even more terrifying.

I did manage to catch up with a couple who lives there who are the absolute nicest, and whether the husband realizes it or not, I will always remember seeing photos of the wooden carousel horses he carved by hand and then painted. His carving abilities are beyond remarkable. His memory is still as sharp as a tack because before walking away, he asked how my garden has been this year. Wow. I only passingly mentioned my love of gardening over two years ago when they purchased their unit. Such good people.

Before heading back to office, I decided to take a quick trip up to Rock Falls to get my first look at their cemetery. It was a pleasant drive with very few cars on the road which allowed me to get a more leisurely look at the undulating fields of corn and beans that’ll soon be in the cross-hairs of harvesting equipment. Yes, Fall isn’t far off, so we’d better enjoy as many of these waining summer days as we can.

Labor Day Weekend is but a week away and you know what that means? The summer residents of Clear Lake will be winding down their stay and making preparations for next year’s return. I’ve never been much impressed by those monster lakeshore homes which are lived in at best, four months out of the year. With the millions of people in our world who’re going hungry, we continue to have such vulgar signs of conspicuous consumption. I know one old granny who has a summer home over there, and every 4th of July, she has to go all out like it’s the party of the century, but the rest of the year, she’s making people believe she’s another financially struggling widow who needs all the freebies she can get. Quite pathetic if you ask me.

When I pulled up to the entrance of the Rock Falls cemetery, the first thing to catch my eye, was the iron gate with its name on it, along with the year it was created which was 1865. Now that’s one heck of a long time ago. Every time I see such dates, the thoughts come to mind of no plumbing, no electricity, and definitely no motorized vehicles.

Now if the gnats hadn’t been after me with a vengeance, I would’ve stayed longer, but I wasn’t in the mood to be fighting with them again, so I quickly strolled around the older section and began snapping photos. The most eye-catching tombstone I found, is pictured above.

While driving back to the City and thinking about the experience, I’d say what jolted me the most, was seeing those memorials of by-gone ways and days, and realizing that creating them would’ve been a huge financial drain for the decedent’s family, but we have to remember, back then, the dead were held in far higher esteem than they are today. Just look at today’s percentages of cremations versus full-body burials. Yes, I was fully brought up to speed this afternoon with the differences. One side of my old family were similar when it came to insisting on giant headstones with the last name of the family chiseled into it, and then surrounded by smaller stones with each family member’s name, date of birth and death. Many of those granite stones look as if they’ve only been there a few years instead of generations. Yes, they wanted to be remembered.

Tonight’s One-liner is: One advantage of talking to yourself, is that you know at least somebody’s listening.

Joe Chodur

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