Monday, July 6, 2009

Purchasing Real Estate

The Duck and I bought some 'real estate' a few weeks ago ... it's a small lot here in our little suburb ... a 10' x 10' lot that will need improvements and is only big enough for two!

I finished an exhausting work out that morning at the recreation center and before crawling out of the hot, smelly, room, I told the instructor that I was going to buy a burial plot that afternoon. Where is my camera when I need it??? Her jaw actually dropped ... I've heard that expression several times, but believe me, it is something to see in person!!! I hadn't been feeling great for several weeks, my friends/'partners in crime' were aware of my health issues, but I continued to attend the strength training classes ... always on the back row, so the instructor won't call me a 'slacker.' She did not utter a word for a moment ... just a 'deer in the headlights' look on her face, with the jaw dropped. When she finally blinked, she stammered "You ARE joking, aren't you?" I smiled and as I hobbled away ... "No, I am very serious." Her furrowed brow was priceless ... Yeah ... I know, it was a 'cheap shot', but when you are exhausted, sweaty, and feeling like you've been 'rode hard and put up wet' by a young 'hard body' in a thong ... you resort to whatever gets you through the day!!!

The Duck and I stumbled upon a cemetery on the outskirts of town one evening when driving around. We have lived in this beautiful 'hill country' hamlet for nine years this month. We have talked about buying burial plots for some time; not that either of us is in poor health ... it's just one more thing that we wanted to check off the "To Do List." We have wills, medical directives, powers of attorney ... all that sort of thing ... we both feel taking care of such decisions is really a gift to our loved ones. We thought we had found what we wanted a few years back and yet we never seemed to find the time to do it.

Then we found this 'new' cemetery within a few miles of us ... right 'under' our noses, so to speak. I knew it was there, but thought the IOOF was the address ... I didn't know that meant The International Order of Odd Fellows. I suppose I could 'pun' endlessly about the name "Odd Fellows" and any connection to The Duck and me, but that, too, would be a cheap shot as this is a very old and honorable 'fraternity.' In 17th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called "Odd Fellows." Odd Fellows are also known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819.

The cemetery is very old ... it was founded in the 1840s and it is beautiful. Okay, maybe thinking a cemetery is beautiful is going a bit overboard. I find it is a peaceful and comforting thought to know my final resting place will be under those stately old trees and among so many friends. I've always like to walk among headstones and read the dates and unusual inscriptions. One old cemetery in Colorado has several markers with the date 1918 on them; that was the year of a terrible flu epidemic. On another grave of a local young musician, you will find guitars etched on the stone and it is not uncommon to find unopened beer cans sitting on the grave. There are the occasional 'pun' headstones, but most display love for their lost loved ones. Please understand, I am not into Goth or macabre/morbid fetishes ... although I do wear a lot of black, but it's a camouflage thing, you know, the hips ....

A few days after visiting the cemetery, The Duck and I bought 'our little piece' of real estate. We have included the 'deed' for said property with our other important papers. Check that one off the list! We decided to go looking at headstones on a Wednesday 'date' afternoon. (does this tell you anything about our exciting lives???) Not as much fun as going to an afternoon movie, but with lunch thrown into the deal, I was a happy camper. I should not have been surprised that our 'headstone' could be computer generated ... we now have a photo copy of a polished granite stone with our last names engraved on both sides. I had been the one who wanted to go ahead and have our first names and birth dates placed on the stone. The Duck had been quick to say "there's no reason to rush things" ... uh, so who else would be occupying my half of the 10' x 10' plot??? Always the thrifty shopper, The Duck insisted we visit at least two monument companies to get 'comparison prices.' When he learned it would save money to have the names and dates etched on the stone at the same time the FAMILY name was done, he readily agreed to having it done that way. I, on the other hand, had started 'back tracking' ... seeing our name on the headstone on the computer photo hit me like a ton of bricks. It was unnerving to say the least ... the plots without 'improvements' was one thing ... but my name ... my birthday date ... etched in stone. I think I actually had a mini-panic attack ... the heart racing, the head spinning (no, not an 'Exorcist' thing) but I did find myself questioning why we were even thinking along these lines, let alone, buying plots, looking at headstones. We thanked both representatives of the monument companies and told them we would be in touch.

I had lunch the following day with a 90 year old woman friend (she's incredible ... feisty, opinionated and youthful) ... she wants to be cremated, have her ashes scattered over her husband's grave or "whatever my daughters want to do with them." I kept thinking, I've spent my entire life trying to stay out of HELL ... why, then, would I want to be cremated?!?

I'm once again talking about the headstone with The Duck ... you see, the estimate of costs is only good for 30 days ... I told you he is nothing if not thrifty. But I'm wavering on the vases on both sides of the Family headstone ... we do not have anyone living close around to place flowers anyway!!! I think there is really only one thing to do about all of this 'pre-planning' ... I'm just not going to die!!!


Jadehollow said...

My Dad had done all of the above himself before he passed. I can't tell you the burden that he lifted from us kids in doing so. He was such a Simple Simon and everything at his funeral was so him.. had that been left up to us.. we would have chosen more elaborate flasher things thinking he deserved the best. Also in a so him move .. he prepared his own will.. written on a brown paper sack. He told us all what was what and who was getting what.. and if we didn't like who he was leaving what too.. we could settle it right then and there with his belt and a good ole fashion tail whipping. He was such the comedian about stuff.. yet we knew he meant business about certain things .. and those things were always carried out to his wishes.
Have a Blessed Week!

Bz said...

Yeah, I would forgo the vases.
Is nice that it's s more symbolic place than the previous 'freedom' hill.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Well, if that's the place in your photos, I'd say it's so pretty it's almost worth dying for! Very sweet and thoughtful of you to take care of all this.

Me? I, like your friend, prefer to be cremated and so do Grizzly, Bo, and TWM. I want to be scattered in my beloved mountains and used as fertilizer for the trees, etc. I hate enclosed spaces so no coffins for me, thanks. Aren't we funny? We'll be in heaven together yukking it up and sportin' new bods that will look a heckuva lots better than my current one, I can tell you. Yay for that! God created the one I'm in but I doubt He's too pleased about what I've done with the place......!

Fruitcake Sandy said...

It IS funny how we think ... I suppose when our spirits leave these ole bodies, a coffin or cremation will not matter. I do know that a funeral/memorial service is needed in either case ... for closure. The saddest cases I had in Hospice where the ones who 'donated' their bodies to medical science. I had one person tell me "it's like he was never here on earth."