Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I think I first noticed "shrines" in early 1992, when Bob, my father and I took a car trip to Florida. I spotted them along highways in the South, on the way down. During the past decade, they seem to be everywhere, a floral reminder of the bloodbath that is our favored way of travel. Whenever someone dies in a car crash, a shrine immediately appears. Some, often in the most high traffic areas, quickly disappear; others are there for years afterwards, either becoming forgotten, tattered and forlorn, or they are regularly visited, with new bouquets placed nearby and sometimes even more permanent displays erected.

I wonder at this phenomenon. Is it because increasing numbers of people are cremated, (that is my guess, it has no factual basis) and so do not get interred in cemeteries, and there is no permanent place for mourning? Does the spot where death happened hold some special power? Or is it something about the special horror of car accidents, related in some way to "rubber-necking"?

For famous people, shrines appear at places besides the death site, and even when the death is not accidental. I wrote a bit, sort of on this subject, here.

Bob and I developed a business idea! (Since this site gets little traffic there is no fear it will be stolen...and we'll never do it anyway). Some florists and cemeteries offer services, delivering flowers or a plant to the grave of your beloved, on occasions such as Mother's Day or Memorial Day, when you can't visit yourself. So how about applying the same idea to the many neglected shrines along the roads? Roadside Rememberences. Let us lovingly maintain your dear one's shrine. Special on four times per year package: Easter, Memorial Day, Christmas, Birthday. Prayers extra.

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