I’ve been obsessed with cemeteries since I organized
my first funeral.
When I was a kid, one of several fishes my sisters and I kept in a freshwater aquarium died. Since we didn’t care about him much, he didn’t really even have a name. Until we found him belly-up. Then he had to have a name – for the TOMBSTONE.
Deciding on Flashy, we made a sparkly, little casket out of aluminum foil lined with a folded square of soft, pink toilet paper. With me leading the way, I was the oldest, we carried his body slowly, in procession through the living room, the kitchen, out the back door.
At the graveside, we sang swing low, sweet chaaar-ri-ah-aht! Words were said – sad, respectful ones about Flashy’s tragically short life.
We discussed the six-feet-under concept, but our mother convinced us — I believe her exact words were, “No, you will NOT dig a six foot hole by the back patio!” — that six inches would be more than enough for a creature Flashy’s size.
We buried him under the Skunk bush. That was our nickname for a rare and gorgeous species of Azalea that blooms a brilliant orange, but has the unfortunately pungent scent of skunk.
Flashy wouldn’t mind the smell. We marked his final resting place with a Popsicle-stick-cross beautified with crayon. There may have been tears, but I don’t think so. The feeling I remember most about the whole affair is glee.