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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

If Only The Dead Could Talk

Bicycling, Humor, Roadside Curiosities

My regular readers know that one of my pastimes is bicycling around the countryside looking for cemeteries worthy of exploration.

There is a great deal to learn by respectfully visiting the final resting places of those who have gone before us.

Sometimes I'd like to think that the dead speak to me.

By means of the dates they died, the length of their lives, ancient and modern artifacts and sometimes the stories told by their grave markers.  You can learn a great deal about a community - or for that matter a culture - by studying the dead that previously settled the land, walked the streets, plowed the fields, wore a uniform or captained a vessel in an earlier time.

I discovered Joe Cain's grave this way and learned the story of Raising Cain.

Here is a simple - yet poignant - example.  

Somebody left this baseball upon a grave marker.

Written upon it in the cramped hand of a child was - Wish we could have met  XOXO  ♥  Katie.

What do you think - daughter or grandchild? 

Probably a baseball fan for sure.  But was it the departed or the descendant who was the fan?  Or both?

The individual resting here is a guy after my own heart.

My guess is that he might have been a lover of song birds when he was alive.

He might be six feet under now - but someone's hung a nifty nest box above so that maybe a family of house wrens might keep him company in the afterlife.

When I prop my bike against a tree and take a stroll through a graveyard with my camera and water bottle in hand I find all sorts of relics and curiosities left behind.  Presumably these are left for the benefit or entertainment of the departed.

Seriously - not just artificial flowers - but real stuff like you see above.  I have found golf balls and golf clubs, Packer flags, a baseball bat, coins, a cowboy boot, a ceramic Buddha, a boat anchor, a rubber lizard and a compact disk.  Even a pink flamingo.

While I am not personally troubled by this phenomenon - someone might want to tell the Catholic Church that at least a few of their consecrated grounds are rife with what appear to be symbols of pagan ritual.

Go figure.

Did you know that the dead even have a sense of humor? 

Just the other day I stumbled across someone who obviously had a sense of humor during their time on earth.

And they clearly wanted others to know it after they departed...

Stop by the Campingplatz over the next week or so to catch a series of posts that will take you on a virtual tour of some of the dead of Door County including some historical figures from the peninsula.

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