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Friday, December 29, 2000

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Holiday in the cemetery

I was walking through a large cemetery today and noticed how many graves are decorated with christmas decorations. Most of them were tasteful poinsettas or a little tree but some were rather elaborate and garish. A few had toys and one had a birthday balloon. One plot, about 12X12 feet, that had at least three graves, they are just those little plaques in the ground so I wasn't sure, was covered with decorations and had a little fence around it with tinsel and santa and I noticed a couple 9 volt batteries that I assume run lights. It never occurred to me that people would decorate a grave with the seasons, but I noticed a sign telling what they could do and when for different holidays. Of course, I don't visit anyone in a cemetery so I've never noticed before.

The only immediate family member that's in a grave is my little brother Johnny. He was buried in Mexico City in 1959. Within a couple months the gravestone and the flower holders were stolen. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else was buried in his grave by now. It was a perpetual care cemetery but in a country run on bribes that doesn't mean much. Even my mother gave up after a few years. I don't even know if my father still remembers where Johnny was buried.

I guess I just don't feel that anything that matters is still in the cemetery. This why I also don't understand why native americans are so possessive about human remains found. I always figure studying them and learning something new is more important. Of course, my mother's body went to the medical center for study so it's not just me and it's not just religious people since my father is religious and wants his body to be used for study.

I don't even like funerals. I've only been to my brother's and my mother's memorial service. I don't remember the funeral except that his scout troop was an honor guard, or something. My mother's memorial service was an Aschmann function so it was rather strange and then we spent most of the days my brother's and their families were here to just talk and get to know each other. My father would like his ashes and my mother's to be eventually buried in the family plot in New York but I think that's because it's there and he can't see the point of wasting it. My uncle is also pushing for this.

I finished two more murder mysteries, to continue on a macabre theme. The first was "Corruptly Procured" by Michael Bowen. This featured Richard Michaelson and I think I've read one in this series before but I can't remember. It is set in Washington DC and involves militant catholics, terrorists, and bureaucrats and lawyers fighting for their places in the the power structure. It was very well done. The plot was plausible and the characters were interesting. It starts with a bomb going off in the Library of Congress and the theft of a Gutenburg Bible and ends across the Atlantic in the channel tunnel.

The second book was "Murder on the Lusitania" by Conrad Allen. It was set on the first voyage of the Lusitania and highlighted the life of the rich in the pre 1st world war era. The detective was George Porter Dillman who was a Pinkerton detective hired to keep an eye on petty crime and gamblers while posing as a first class passenger. He gets involved with the conspiracies of both young love and international jealousies while getting to know the various foibles of his fellow passengers and meeting some lovely ladies, who perhaps aren't all that nice. This was a very nice society mystery,


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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