Cemetery flowers. Yep, that's what I said, cemetery flowers. If you have ever passed a cemetery, graveyard, whatever you want to call it, you have seen thousands and thousands of flowers sticking up across the landscape. Ever wonder how they get there? Who puts them there? Who tends them?
Well, if you say yes to any of those questions then it isn't you that has that job. In my family, my Mama is the one who cares for the final resting places of my brothers, Papa and Granny. I am sure she didn't ask for this job, it was thrust upon her years ago when she and my Daddy buried their twin sons. From that point on she has always kept the flowers on all the graves fresh, seasonal and beautiful. I have, just recently started helping her with this task. Now for years she has taken my brother and I to the cemetery with her to place the flowers and clean up around the graves, but the task of actually getting the supplies and placing the flowers in the vase is new to me. I guess this is her way of passing on what will become my task in many many many many years from now. There are other family members that could help with this, if not physically, financially would be nice. As I have discovered while shopping with my Mama for the appropriate floral arrangements, it ain't cheap! Yea, we could go to the dollar tree and get some cheap, faded, trashy plastic crap flowers and toss them in a vase but we have more respect for our relatives (both living and dead) than to do that. We have seen way to many sad arrangement, mismatched, plain ole ugly sickly sticking out of a vase. I have even rearranged a few on strangers graves because I felt bad for both the dead and the living.
The problem with getting nice flowers, flowers that not only are appropriate for the deceased but for the season and aside from the cost and time is this... PEOPLE STEAL THEM! Yes, they steal our flowers straight from the graves. What kind of sick, twisted, morally bankrupt person do you have to be to steal from the dead? Seriously, this really really pisses me off. Not just because someone took the flowers that good money and time were spent on but they desecrated my loved ones graves in doing so. Now I know that there was no physical damage done to the site, but that is so not the point.
For Christmas, my Mama and I got 3 small trees, little ornaments and garland. She wired all the ornaments on the trees and I forced the little tree bases into the brass vases, making it damn near impossible to pull out. I knew after the holidays we could cut the bases and get the trees out. Two or three days after we placed the vases back in the cemetery Mama calls me from there and sure enough someone had tried to take a tree. She knew this because you could see where they had placed their hands around the base to yank it out, they bent the tree, the ornaments and messed up the ribbon tied around the bottom. Mama straightened it up, fixed it back pretty for the season. All the while cursing the name of the failed thief. (I'm sure she wasn't actually cursing... she was probably praying for their soul, I was cursing.)
We have joked about making an arrangement and hiding fishing hooks amongst the flowers so whoever tries to steal them would get a very painful punishment, and I would truly love to do that. However, I am quite sure it would end up either Mama or me with a hook in our fingers, we would laugh about it though because that's what we do.
I guess I should try to think of a more humane way to discourage these pigs from stealing our flowers, perhaps we should tie small prayers to each flower on pretty ribbons. Maybe the phone number of a church or pastor. Its something to think about, but I like the fish hook idea better!