Today, I involved my mom in an extra credit assignment, namely to visit a graveyard and snap various photos of headstones, categorize them by decade, and draw conclusions based on evolving headstone styles. We went to the Woodbine Cemetary in Puyallup. This is the same cemetary in which Ezra Meeker is buried, one of the late 19th century Oregon Trail pioneers and the one who named the city of Puyallup (which supposedly means ‘generous people’ in some Indian dialect) and its first mayor. Although one of his greater contributions to society was his introduction of hops to the area (horray, beer!), and was even recognized as the “Hop King of the World”, until his crops were destroyed by hop lice. Then around the same time Anheuser-Busch adopted the nomenclature “King of Beer”. His Victorian mansion is now a museum in down-town Puyallup and is still one of the major attractions of the city alongside the Puyallup Fair itself. Besides Ezra Meeker’s grave, I also saw Vitt Ferrucci’s grave (actually, future grave, since he’s not quite dead yet, although his wife died in 2005). He is a vetrinarian who served on the Puyallup Board of Education, and who has a junior high school named after him. Two of my sisters, Sarah and Diane, attended Ferrucci Jr. High.
Visiting graveyards is something I should probably do a little more often, since it reinforces to me the idea that we will only live a little while on Earth, and and the manner in which you live has direct implications on whether you face eternal life or damnation. Just last night, I heard a sermon by Rev. Robert Raburn based on Phillipians 1:27 – “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (ESV), and how it is too often to not think seriously about the manner in which we live, but such is the critical factor which determines life or death in the afterlife. Every gravestone represents a soul that must face judgement and go either to heaven or hell, when all the sudden, your accomplishments, the amount of joy you’ve had in life or size of your gravestone doesn’t really matter anymore.
It started snowing today, which would be the first time in over four years I have seen it snow (last four holiday seaons, I was in Texas, Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. It’s kind of hard to get Christmas spirit in any of those places. Ironically, Christ was born in the Middle East. Funny how that works. To the left is a shot I took in the back yard when it was snowing pretty hard. And if you’re reading this post, Sarah, for memory’s sake, I posted a few photos of the tree Andrew proposed to you under before and after I obliterated it: