"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, December 28, 2015

Let's not all "chime" in at once

Remember how the residents of Mayberry got so excited about the movie crew passing through town? We in Morris could get similarly excited when our fair community was the subject for a page 1 article in the Star Tribune. Wow! Did the Strib ever do any coverage of the whole Craig Peterson thing? I'll assert they didn't. I even called the Strib one day to give them a "tip." Still no coverage of this rather sensational episode. I doubt that our Stevens County Historical Society will preserve any of it.
I don't think the chimes controversy will be preserved in that manner either. Websites like mine - I have two of them - have their niche of preserving all kinds of historical fodder, not just the "proper" stuff. As far as the Strib nixing the Peterson story, my theory has always been: the paper on its own applied its judgment that the severe legal charges were improper and rather weird. A couple is out and about in a consensual friendship, consumes alcohol, ends up at the guy's place, and then. . . Well, you know. Very few style points for this. I have never dated so I have never courted these risks. What a mess.
"Mess" also describes the topic for the Strib's recent page 1 article (and "jumped" to an inside page). Morris is in the Star Tribune! Eureka. The chimes controversy at our local cemetery festered for years, sadly. Public music is not necessary. People can play their own favorite music on their devices at home.
The issues here are so outrageously simple to distill. The public music was pollution. And then we get into a discussion of the merits of the music, as if that had any place. Are we stupid! The powers-that-be should have made sure that the music was turned off long ago. 
The music was for the people visiting the cemetery? Do you think these people really care if there's any music playing there or not? When you get down to it, our cemetery has bigger issues. There should be a fence separating Summit Cemetery from the Catholic Calvary Cemetery. That would be to ensure that there's no misunderstanding about who that "baby" tombstone represents. Most people consider abortion to be settled law.
I'm assuming that the "no trespassing" sign at the cemetery is a Calvary thing, not Summit, but I can't be sure. Why would a cemetery have a "no trespassing" sign? Is the public just supposed to stay out? When I purchased a monument for my family, it was with the idea that I wanted the public to see it. It's a bench monument which I chose because I wanted it to be handy for cemetery visitors.
I was naïve at that time. I hadn't yet realized that visiting the cemetery was impractical for many people. There is a one-lane road through the cemetery. There is a cemetery policy, reported on a small sign, to not drive on the grass. This makes it literally impossible to park at the cemetery. You can't park in the middle of the road. I tried parking next to the road and was loudly upbraided by a cemetery worker on the scene, on July 4. Why was this asshole working on July 4?
I sent an email to Bob Stevenson asking about the "policy" or "etiquette" for parking at Summit Cemetery. I got no answer. I suggest this is because there is no answer.
We had all sorts of trouble after my father passed away. We encountered incompetence on several levels - exasperating. It makes me conclude that my late aunt's approach for her final rites was the only way to go: cremation and nothing else, not even an obituary. If there's life insurance, give that money as memorial contributions to various causes around the community. How about the Morris Area School Foundation?
I was naïve and unprepared when my father died, and I'm regretful. The death industry in Morris is bloodsucking about money, period. You even have to pay to get an obit in the newspaper. What an abomination. The paper would justify this practice on the basis of "we like money," or something like that. There was no charge when I worked for the Morrisons.
I argued recently that the paper should pay the funeral home instead of the other way around. Absent this, how about this procedure: the funeral home could just tell the paper "we're not paying for obits to be in the paper anymore. Many people, more all the time, come to our website to read them. You can publish them if you wish, but we aren't going to pay you. We aren't going to pay you just because you want money."
Let the paper go a few weeks without publishing obits. See what happens. I think funeral homes are under pressure everywhere because people are drifting away, rather rapidly in fact, from the "traditional funeral," the essence of which is "get out your checkbook for the funeral home." They write a number on a piece of paper and then you pay it, somehow. A lot of people must have an extra $10,000 tucked away somewhere. Or maybe they don't.
I recently emailed Willard Wevley, an old classmate of mine now in the funeral home business, suggesting that the biggest challenge in their business is identifying who's supposed to pay for a funeral, and then getting the money from that party. I think that behind the scenes, it's rather arduous.
How about paying a little taxes for a government program that helps defray funeral expenses for everyone? Would you appreciate that?
The cemetery chimes are now gone from Morris. As for the crusader who put them there, I'm reminded of a line from the father of Timothy Hutton's character in the movie "Taps." This gentleman said "(insert name) is proof that horse's asses outnumber horses."
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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