Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just because I'm not a Southerner, but there are certain things about this region that I just do not get. I don't know if these are specific to Georgia, to Gainesville, or to the South as a whole, but I do not understand, and I am not sure whether it has to do with me being a transplant, or whether other Southerners would say, "Hey, you're right -- that is weird."
I never understood the whole open-casket thing. I never understood fancy caskets anyway. The guy's dead- why does he need cushions and a waterproof box? But to stand in a room with dozens of extended family members milling around and saying hi to each other like some sort of family reunion when there's a dead body in the room.... weird.
But this morning I had cause to walk past the local cemetery here in Gainesvegas, and I noticed something very odd. There were several gravestones with the family name at the top, and the husband's name on the left, and the wife's name on the right. That in itself is not strange - lots of people have family plots. But when the headstone is there with both names and dates of birth on there but only one date of death...
For those of you that are having difficulty following this... only one of them is dead, and the headstone is there so when the other one dies, they don't have to do anything but put in the date of death.
This means that whenever the widow or widower visits the grave of their beloved, they see their own name emblazoned on the stone. Talk about reminding you of your own mortality. "Well Walter, I guess I'm not long for this world either."
How did this start? I have a vision of some tightwad going to the stonemason and saying,"Well, I don't wanna waste money on TWO headstones... put both names on there and just fill in the date of death when I kick the bucket."
I had never seen this before. And the thing was, once I noticed the first one, I noticed about ten more.