I had cause to visit the local cemetery a few weeks ago and happened upon a woman posing for a picture right next to a grave.
Well she wasn’t posing so much as doing that thing that Usain Bolt does after he wins a race. And after she had finished, she returned the favour and took a picture of the woman who had snapped her photo, who also struck a pose for the camera.
I had to pass these two models on my way in, but because I stopped short in order to avoid spoiling the shot, I remember that the grave that they chose to feature in their portrait wasn’t fresh.
In other words, although it was obvious from their clothing (suitably black, but more appropriate for the club), that they had just attended a burial, this was not the resting place of anyone who had recently departed.
However, given the fact that we make it a practice to visit the graves of friends or family members when attending a burial for somebody else, it’s possible that they were in fact paying their respects to someone else that they used to know.
But I still found the location for taking a portrait a little strange for my taste.
Taking pictures of gravesites and dead people in their coffins has always seemed a strange thing to me. But I’m reminded of a movie called “The Others” starring Nicole Kidman, which spoke to the Victorian practice of taking pictures of the dead – some of them even sitting upright as if taking a portrait.
Sure, it’s nice to take a picture of all the members of the family when they’re in the same place, but can’t we do that at the restaurant instead?
And speaking of victuals, I’ve also found it strange that one or two industrious persons will set up a tray with snacks and a cooler with drinks (some alcoholic), to serve the mourners after the interment – outside the gates of course.
But I’ve noticed that only a certain type of mourner appreciates this accommodation, and apparently the person providing the convenience seems to know just who they are, because they’re not present at every funeral.
I recently asked somebody about this practice and she declared that the people who were ready to imbibe that soon after saying their goodbyes were just getting the “wake” started early.
On the opposite side of the cemetery is a bar where mourners have also been known to congregate and throw back a few. It has had many lives, and is now under new management.
Now I’m not saying that businesses don’t come and go, but I’m thinking that if the new bar owners want to stay a while, they’ll probably have to make sure that they, (as my Aunt Chris would when pouring herself a glass), save a little bit for the “spirits”.