Above The Fruited Plain: Vandals Bolster American Sentiment

Lincoln, NE – A new fad has taken root in the graveyard enthusiast community; tired old headstones are getting a facelift.  Volunteers with a local group are sneaking into cemeteries all over the city in the dead of night to paint the monuments with bright colors and add cheerful decorations. 

“We just feel that the grey monolith has run its course.” says Lemonn Gentworth, president of the Graveyard Rejuvinators International: Midwest, otherwise known as GRIM.  “There’s no reason people looking at a cemetery should ever be reminded of death, and nothing says “death” like ugly grey rocks sticking up out of the ground.  With a little paint and maybe some tasteful dolphin figurines, cemeteries might become a place so removed from the awful stigma of death that you could host a toddler’s birthday party, or have a bat mitten tourney, or sell puppies to homeless people, or whatever.  The possibilities are really endless.”   To date, Gentworth and his volunteers have “colorfied” (the official GRIM term) about 100 graves in and around Lincoln, with plans to move on about 250 more. 

While it should be noted that these activities are viewed as vandalism under the law (punishable by death in North Korea) and there has been some outcry from concerned citizens, PFN News spoke to at least one man who welcomed the change.  I visited Jarvis Wayne II on the back porch of his humble farmhouse on the outskirts of town, overlooking his neighbor’s fields, and the family graveyard that lies just beyond the white picket fence around the backyard.  “Well I was actually pretty shocked at first.”  Wayne told me. “I just woke up one morning and saw all of my ancestors had a coat of yellow paint on the headstones.  I called my preacher just to make sure you know, there wasn’t anything untoward about it, you know with the dead and all that.  And then I called the hospital to make sure they would tell those ambulance helicopter pilots that I did not have a landing pad in my back yard, what with the yellow and all.  After that, the more I thought about it, I guess it was really OK.  I think Grandpa Jarvis might even have liked it, you know with the yellow and all.”

Indeed as we sipped iced tea on the back porch, this reporter could not help but appreciate a scene as American as any.  The sun setting on the horizon, illuminating the Amber Graves of Wayne. 

PFN News – Steve Dbrockavitch

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