Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God Bless St Monica, and the US of A!

Not really because of the health care reform (which is nice and all, but wasn't what I was thinking of this afternoon).

St Augustine tells us his mom used to engage in the North African practice of memorializing the dead by going to the cemetery with a picnic basket and having a meal there. (He tells the story to extol her obedience, as she stops the practice when the bishop asks her to, but that's another story.) I always though that sounded like the coolest way to honor and commune with the dead (they are, after all, now members of the Church Triumphant, while we still toil in the Church Militant), so for the last couple years, I've been going to my grandparents' grave with a sandwich and a bag of chips and spending a nice few minutes there. (Don't tell my wife - she'd be appalled. She does her own Catholic thing with the kneeling and praying at graveside [candle lighting if they have them available], but eating in a cemetery would strike her as simultaneously the most blasphemous and nauseating thing humanly possible.)

But today I had an especially nice feeling there, chewing and looking out at the misty cold hillside, as I thought how I was eating an Italian sub, made by a Chinese lady at the deli, while I was sitting six feet above my German ancestors. Only in America. Got me feeling a little patriotic, on top of that ars moriendi feeling I kind of like.


Blogger The Nozzle Meister said...

I quite enjoy cemeteries and walking through them. They are peaceful and beautiful places ideal for reflection about anything. Angie and I spent an entire day in Montparnasse.. wow, what a place! Plus we got to see the grave site of Chopin, which is far cooler to me than whatshisname from the Doors. I would've liked to have seen Baudelaire's grave though which is also at Pere Lachaise..

8:41 PM  
Blogger Nick Cato said...

I have relatives in North Carolina who do the whole picnic-in-the-graveyard thing---I understand it's a common southern practice.

10:36 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Funny, Nick - if I had to guess, I would've guessed Latino/a would be more open to such rituals. If it's southern USA, that makes me wonder if the roots are french. Well, regardless, here's one uptight northern European who kinda likes ir!

1:33 AM  

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