"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cemetery has a "no trespassing" sign

We think in terms of one cemetery in Morris, though there's two. You'll see a sign identifying "Calvary Cemetery." It's my understanding, these are the Catholics who I guess prefer being buried separately. I wonder if they're separate in heaven. I actually think some Catholics think that.
Separate but equal? I don't know. I know an elderly woman with a rich Catholic background who had some grandkids growing up Baptist. "They'll never see the face of Christ," she said. I found that charming.
Rigid denominational beliefs don't seem as evident today as in a previous time. Those divisions were a prime reason why my generation - the boomers - drifted away from organized religion. We equated those divisions with a Peyton Place type of living template in America. It seemed pointless and backward.
Boomers, as we watch our parents age, have come to overlook many of the societal shortcomings that go back to the Lawrence Welk era. We're thankful if our parents are even alive. Why raise uncomfortable issues when we're dealing with the fundamental issues of staying alive (and solvent)? We can remember how miserable the Viet Nam war was, how it sent tremors through our societal fabric. Those tremors were legitimate and had to be confronted. Just watch the movie "Born on the Fourth of July."
Remembering that pain reminds me of how imperfect us human animals are. God created us that way.
Boomers don't think much about grousing about religion anymore. We are not fully restored to the kind of commitment that characterized mid-20th Century America. We just have different priorities, more basic priorities. Not only should we be glad our parents are alive, we should be thankful we are alive.

Summit and Calvary Cemeteries here
People in Morris tend to lump our two cemeteries together. They occupy the same physical space. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Calvary Cemetery does one and maybe two things that are controversial. First, there's that "baby" tombstone in a conspicuous place: a blatant political message about abortion. Why don't we just let our legal system wrestle with abortion? Abortion is so divisive. Let's keep political messages about this, out of our public places, please. Abortion (as a contentious issue) is the equivalent to what slavery was.
How to interpret signs?
There are two signs at one of the cemetery entrances and I'm not 100 percent sure they're associated with Calvary, so I'm guessing they are. Summit Cemetery is the "town" cemetery and I don't think it would choose to be so exclusive.
There are two signs side by side that bother me and which I feel are inappropriate: "No trespassing through cemetery" and "trespassers will be prosecuted." Imagine the "Dragnet" theme song in your head.
Really? Are these signs to be taken literally? Are we forced to parse the word "trespassing?" Do we need to consult a lawyer?
First off, "no trespassing" signs bother me, anywhere. Whatever the property owner fears, his/her concerns could be addressed in a more civil, gentle way. A "no trespassing" sign can be translated as "get the f--k out of here." This is not the voice of the deceased individuals. I think the families of the deceased would appreciate visitors coming through the cemetery, just to look.
If these signs are intended to be directed toward would-be troublemakers, then this should be made clear. Young people including college students seem more mature than in an earlier time. Would they really be inclined to make trouble in a cemetery?
UMM football players seem much more mature than in an earlier time. Of course, they lose a lot too. A pox on football. If the MACA and UMM numbers are the same as before when fall arrives, I'll be totally befuddled about our society and culture. We get such vivid warnings about football from the scientific community. Don't parents care about the health of their sons?
Stop by our monument
Our family has had a monument for only two years at Summit Cemetery. It's a bench. I welcome casual walkers to just stop by and sit a spell. The purpose of our monument is to remind people who we were. My father was the founder of UMM music. That's a nice distinction.
Are casual walkers welcome at Summit Cemetery, the non-Catholic cemetery? In the past I assumed the cemetery was like a public park. I never suspected there might be an issue with just strolling through. I noticed a sign at the Fergus Falls cemetery that said the cemetery was closed from 8 p.m. until morning. That's more reasonable than the terse and rather rude "no trespassing" sign. The "no trespassing" sign here is placed in just one place, or so I've noticed. You could easily walk onto the grounds without seeing it.
What is a "trespasser?" Is it anyone on the grounds who doesn't own it? Let's be lucid here. A person might want to walk through just to admire all the various headstones, to appreciate their design and to wonder who all these people were. The deceased are getting ever more distant in time.
The Sam Smith statue stands out magnificently at our Summit Cemetery. I don't think 'ol Sam would want anyone to be chased away. I think people should be welcome at the cemetery, to soak in the peace and solitude (if the chimes aren't playing). Even people who won't see the face of Christ.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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