A Beautiful Send-Off
We knew an arborist who died a couple of years ago. He wanted to be buried in a plain pine box without being embalmed, and after a bunch of searching he located a cemetery on a nearby Native American reservation that was willing to honor his wishes. We attended his graveside service on a beautiful sunny day in the small cemetery adjacent to a wheat field. We were puzzled when we parked the car and saw the hole, a pile of dirt and a lot of shovels — until we realized that those of us at the service would literally be doing the burying. It was a wonderful ceremony with people of all ages and even a few dogs. Everyone — including the kids who were there — took turns shoveling dirt into the hole and telling stories about our mutual friend. It was definitely reminiscent of an old Western, hearing the thunks on the wood coffin and passing around a bottle of the man’s favorite aged whiskey. Afterwards, large tables and folding chairs were set up and we had a picnic potluck in the cemetery, sharing food that everyone had brought. Best funeral I ever attended.