“Pimp My Grave”*

Went to The Park Saturday to take Mom out to play for her birthday – just a day spent doing whatever she wanted or needed to do, hanging out and talking about life and the mysteries of the universe.  And every single bite of food she’s eaten for the past week…

First on her list?  Getting up to the cemetery to update the flowers on Dad’s grave.  Seems innocuous enough… perhaps a delicate silk arrangement, something small and tasteful?  Oh, no.  Not in my world…

To put this in context, i need to explain a regional phenomenon.  “Lawn Geese”.  As if us Midwestern Americans don’t earn get enough grief for being frivolous and disconnected from issues that matter, many of us (older women, in particular) will purchase concrete geese for the front porch, and then spend way too much time and money dressing them up.  Seasonal costumes?  Christmas and Patriotic Costumes are popular.  Special Events?  You bet!  Even a bride and groom if you want to present the most annoying wedding gift ever.

Mom suffers from “displaced lawn goose syndrome”, and has applied her compulsion to play dress up with the inanimate to my father’s grave.  She “dresses” it for the seasons.  Despite the fact that i promised my father on his death bed that i would not allow her to put plastic flowers** on his grave, i’ve not generally interfered with her need to decorate his headstone.  It brings her joy.  He really wouldn’t mind…

So rather than explain in much more detail, here are “before” and “after” pictures.

Summer colors fading

Summer colors fading

Autumn plumage on display

Autumn plumage on display

Nothing plastic.  All silk.  The tall posts on either side of the headstone are wrought iron stands – meant to hold hanging baskets of flowers.  i tried to put live plants here, but since there is no shade at the site, everything just bakes.  So Mom hangs small wind chimes on them, and wraps them in fake leaves, tinsel, fake ivy or other odds and ends picked up at the dollar store.

So it goes… 

But when we pimp Dad’s grave, i’m always reminded of discussions i had with him about the headstone he wanted.  Something big!  No little flat ground marker, he wanted a huge monument of some sort.  And we giggled ourselves silly at my suggestion of a giant black granite obelisk – maybe 12 feet tall – emblazoned with the word “Daddy” down the side…


* There’s a very special show on MTV called “Pimp My Ride“.  Where a gang-banger wanna be can get a 1978 Ford Maverick converted into a throbbin’ and bitchin’ set of street wheels.  There was a show where some kid got an AMC Pacer pimped out.  Painful…

** As i’ve mentioned before, Mom is a pack rat.  One of the things she finds most difficult to throw out is artificial flowers.  Dad used to have nightmares – literally – about suffocating in his room under piles of dusty, faded and gnarly looking plastic flowers… Hence the promise…

12 thoughts on ““Pimp My Grave”*

  1. Oh, my goodness, I’ve totally missed out on the lawn goose thing. They must have taken the place of the little black jockeys. I couldn’t even find my mother’s grave, much less decorate it. And my Dad’s a hundred miles away now. I’m afraid the grave decorating gene died with my grandmother, who used to haul washtubs of iris out to the cemetery on Memorial Day. But hey, I like the way your Mom decorates. All it needs for Halloween is a big jack-o-lantern.

  2. ‘And we giggled ourselves silly at my suggestion of a giant black granite obelisk – maybe 12 feet tall – emblazoned with the word “Daddy” down the side…’

    Oh snap I’m taking that idea.

    I’ve seen a few episodes of pimp my ride, it would be so bad if they didnt have to add all the stupid stuff like ping pong tables, and fountains and stuff.

  3. I think this is way cool. Damn. My dad would of killed himself laughing at that. We got him back in a box. Ashes. So we went to spread him in the garden. Which my son wanted to do. In a moment of reverence we said a prayer and then my son started pouring out the ashes. Which to my horror he did over the drain, which was covered with some ivy. “Oh my God!” I screamed in terror… and then saw my husband shaking and laughing. My son started giggling nervously, and then we all just cracked up laughing.

    My dad had the most wicked and delicious sense of humour. In that moment he was so present.

  4. My mother-in-law is in a small green cardboard box at the bottom of the airing cupboard. DP has spent three years trying to decide between:
    a) sailing her out to sea on a toy wooden boat and setting fire to it with a flaming arrow
    b) sending her Heavenwards tied to a large rocket (of the firework variety)
    c) and, since we acquired the Cliff Top Residence, driving her off the top of the cliffs in a motorised wheelchair.

  5. I go out and “pimp” stephen’s tree every once in a while. for the anniversary it was petals from 46 roses around the base and a postcard tacked to a high branch. at other times I’ve left balloons, little leaf and stone arrangements, incense and wild flowers. I like it that all these things are ephemeral. they look lovely for a few hours or days and then nature takes them away…..

  6. Hey Dais…it’s been a while. Catching up. Wondering how it is that life can be so full of stuffs. And yet not with the stuffs we want. Eish. Thinking about things in great roundabout ways at the moment. It seems appropriate that death is in here too.

    and @ Nurse M….beautiful.

  7. Pingback: Blown away*… « Trailer Park Refugee

  8. awalkabout – i had a soft spot for the Pacer Wagon! Total babe magnet… funny, now that i’m built just like one, can’t buy one anywhere!

    jambox – welcome to The Park! autumn colors are the best… i just hate the tinsel, and cheap plastic crap she wants to put up there… (sigh)

    annie – i know… mom is big on the trinkets, too. when she finds a penny, she considers it a ‘penny from heaven’, and will often bring a few to put on the headstone as well. we all grieve differently…

    bob – i was thinking of putting in one of those motion-activated jumping skeletons… but i’d end up in hell, and that would be bad, wouldn’t it?

    silverstar – the lawn geese are just bizarre… you’ll see them dressed up in sporting outfits, with props and all sorts of stuff. there are women who are in business making “geese clothing” and selling them at festivals. whatever…

    alex – it’d make me laugh my ass off if someone did it! go for it! and ‘ride pimping’ is kinda fun. i have tiny skeleton heads on the valve stems of my tires. kids did that to my car for mother’s day one year, and i just left them…

    MdW – my dad would have appreciated that as well! but he knew mom wanted a ‘place’ to go remember him, so went with the ‘in the dirt’ option. i’m going to be cremated as well – and have asked the kids to use a plaque that says “daisyfae’s ash hole” and display me proudly in their living rooms someday….

    Lo, TG – Definitely go with option A… maybe adding some of the explosives from the fireworks for added effect. If he does the motorized wheelchair thing, he might get hurt… assuming he’d be driving it, right?

    nm – lovely! something transient and more natural – such as the rose petals – is a wonderful thing to do. i just sit there and talk to him. on the grass. mostly shaking my head, of course…

    dolce – yeah. stuffs. there’s some good stuffs out there… and this is why it’s always good to say “if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is” when the stuffs are happy. because the freaky shit is always lurking…

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