September 19, 2019

A Grave Matter Part III

We drove over to a place called Pacific View Memorial Park. It took like an hour and a half but Jay promised it would be worth it. We stopped for a late lunch on the way. “I wanna show you one grave that I know you’ll wanna see.” said Jay. Walking around, they saw a funeral service taking place. I remarked that it was a beautiful day for a funeral. I also trotted out the old joke that the cemetery was so popular that people were dying to get in. After that bit of comedy and a bit more of looking around and finally asking somebody we were directed to a grave that marked the final resting place of somebody else we always liked, John Wayne. I couldn’t believe it. I’d seen all of John Wayne’s films and even had a poster of him in my room at one time. “Wow, John Wayne” I said as I looked at it. “That’s so cool, well you know what I mean” I said in a lower register and a somewhat respectful voice. If anything, I was a little disappointed that the marker wasn’t any bigger and the Duke seemed to be kinda out by himself with no other famous people around, but maybe he wanted it that way. Besides, there was a nice picture of a horse on his stone. Jay said “Hey look what it says on his stone”. It read... ‘Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight, very clean. When it arrives it is perfect. It puts itself in our hands. It hopes we learned something from yesterday.’ “Man’s that pretty poetic for John Wayne, but he probably didn’t write it. Still it’s pretty cool” I said. “Who do you think wrote it, Whitman, Frost?” “I haven’t the slightest idea. I must of been asleep in Literature class when they covered that” said Jay rolling his eyes. We stood there silently for a few minutes and then I thought of a great idea. “They should have some motion activated thing that when you triggered it, it would say in John Wayne’s voice; “Well, what the hell are you looking at pilgrim?” I laughed. That would scare the shit out of some people. They should have by Bela Lugosi’s grave too. It could say “I bid you welcome” or something like that. That would be awesome. We oughta start up a business with that.” Jay thought for a moment and said, “Yeah, that’d be cool, but I don’t know if you get the surviving families to sign up for something like that. You know it might be considered disrespectful.” And so another million dollar dream idea dies.

There didn’t seem to be much else to see at Pacific View, at least anybody that they had heard of, so we hopped back in the car and made the long drive home in the afternoon heat. The sun had come out and all the cool in the air was gone. We got back home and had a few cold ones before later deciding to go out and get some street tacos (again) and go to a club or two. I had to admit I was hooked on this new hobby and wanted to go the next day to see some more graves so that’s what they did because Jay was up for it too. Jay warned me, “If we meet a couple of girls, don’t mention we were out looking at graves today. They might think we’re a couple of weirdos, of course they’ll probably think that anyway.”

So we found some other cemeteries to go to and saw the graves and markers of David Carradine, the ‘Kung-Fu’ guy who supposedly hung himself, uh...yeah, hung himself...William Conrad, who narrated a childhood favorite cartoon Bullwinkle, and dozens more including the obligatory trip to the crypt of Marilyn Monroe even though neither one of us was really a fan of hers. It just seemed like a mandatory thing to do if you’re out visiting graves. Hugh Hefner’s buried close by her too if you’re interested which I wasn’t. “I gotta think of some people I kinda liked or at least heard of” I mused. “I don’t think you’d ever run out of places to visit” Jay said excitedly. “We can look at the internet and look some other places up and see who they got there”. “Maybe when I get back to Chicago, they got some famous people buried there huh?” I said. “Ya think?” said the sarcastic Jay. “Al Capone’s gotta be there right”? I thought I’d wanna be cremated, but after seeing all that, I think I’d like to be buried with a nice marker I said. “Something to be remembered by you know. “Hell, no offense but who would come visit you” said my sarcastic good friend and deep down I knew he was right. We walked right by a lot of markers and never looked at them unless they were known for something. “The same would apply for me, seems pointless and a waste of time and money.” Jay added.

Alas, all good things come to an end and I found myself getting ready to get on a plane to Chicago O’Hare in a few hours. I decided to spring for a few extra bucks and decided to fly instead of taking that bus again. It had been quite an interesting trip. Not everybody in California lived in Malibu on the beach and I had found a new hobby thanks to Jay. There was more than just finding famous people though. I wouldn’t ever admit it, there was a sense of peace that came over me when I was in a cemetery. Quiet, tranquil, relaxing...sometimes just sitting on a bench for an hour or so just feeling the feeling of feeling the peace around me. Sometimes things just seemed out of control but when I’m here...here it was different. Maybe that’s how death was...no pain...just a release from life which can be full of pain and unhappiness. When I got back I thought, I’d do some exploring on my own in the area and see what famous people were buried nearby. Me and Jay parted and I headed for the ticket counter. Goodbye L.A., Hello Chicago cemeteries.

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