Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remember, Man. . .

This is a round of pictures I took out in the old Catholic cemetery in Folsom last month. As you can see, they're not the most cheerful lot ever, but they seem to fit Ash Wednesday pretty well, come to think of it.

The most noticeable thing about the cemetery was the number of Irish who were buried there. "Native of--" seemed to be a requisite on every tombstone. The one below, for example, memorialises Joseph McDonald, A Native of Co. Meath, Ireland. One of the few non-Irish stones was that of Frank Antonio, who was from the Azores.
Something was particularly poignant about the geographical detail on John Burke's tombstone: Native of Talbots in the parish of the Bulls, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
The Connellys were from Co. Tyrone.

Possibly the most eloquent of the tombstones was one in a family plot, commemorating a "native of Co. Galway". Near him, his daughter was memorialised as "native of California." There was food for thought about the distance that lay between the homeland of one and that of the other, and what might have brought the man from Galway across so many miles that he became father to a Californian.

The day happened to be one of a very dark grey variety. The sky itself was thick and heavy as stone, so colourless that, though you walked on wet, green grass, you somehow came away with the impression that the grass, too, was grey. The leafless trees were grey. The old church, with its once-white paint peeling off along the siding, was grey. But against this setting, an ambitious rose had taken root, and was blooming--most definitely not in grey.

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