One man’s oyster shell…

May 24, 2015 | 7 comments

Shell Offerings?

Shell Offerings?

Now that I am in my eighth decade, I am noticing that my tolerance for some of the ill thought-out ideas of others has diminished. Actually, it’s probably my ability to hold my tongue that has all but disappeared. But then, I never have suffered fools gladly, despite the Biblical admonition attributed to the apostle Paul. As Doris often said in the television series “From Lark Rise to Candleford,” it’s my one weakness.

For instance, I feel compelled to ask why people feel they have the right to dump garbage on Nahcati’s gravesite at the cemetery? Or leave debris at the end of Clay Street, the lane between our house and our neighbor’s to the south? I’m reasonably sure that, in their minds, they are paying some sort of tribute, but when I see what they leave behind, it looks like garbage to me.

On Clay Street

On Clay Street

I can’t imagine why someone feels it’s their prerogative to place old oyster shells or a used bouquet on property that is not theirs. Do they not understand the simple concept beginning “If everybody did this…?” Is it yet another mis-interpretation of the first amendment?

I’ve yet to find a book of etiquette covering ‘How to Pay Respect’ in public. No ‘Miss Manners of Cemetery Behavior’ or ‘Emily Post on Public Grieving with Flowers.’ But it seems that in this day and age of entitlement, such manuals may be necessary. I totally get that such ‘offerings’ are not being done in a malicious way. But, the result is the same. Everyone is left with questions – who did this and why? And someone else has to clean up the detritus that is left behind.

What’s wrong with an invisible tribute? Like a silent prayer?  Or how about that old standby, “Send money.” Most right thinking people understand the efforts of the Grass Roots Garbage Gang and their herculean efforts to clean up the junk left on our beach. But how about the stuff purposely placed hither and thither with some warm and fuzzy thoughts of honoring or remembering or who knows what?  Do these exterior decorators feel that our natural surroundings need enhancement?

The Glorious Meadow, Unadorned

The Glorious Meadow, Unadorned

No doubt I’m stepping on a lot of toes here. I’m not sorry.  If the shoe fits, wear it, I say.

7 Comments

  1. Paul Brent

    What about a “Leave no trace” sign

    Reply
  2. Nolso

    Are you are saying there are to be no flowers left on the graves in the Oysterville cemetery? That’s how I am interpreting the “used bouquet” comment. If such a policy exists, a posted sign at the entrance advising that all decorations are unwelcome or prohibited would be helpful. In this case the shoe fits because adorning the graves of the deceased is standard practice in our culture.

    Reply
    • sydney

      No, that is not at all what I said. Read it again.

      Reply
      • Nolso

        I not only read it again, I read it to others who got the same message re: zero tolerance for cemetery flowers and adornments.

        Reply
        • sydney

          True, Mark. I should have specified “within the village” or “within the National Historic District.” Traditionally, Oysterville included the entire area served by Oysterville School District #1 — from Stackpole to Sargant’s (where Downers now live) and out to the beach. Nowadays, a case can be made for all those (160?) who get their mail at the Oysterville Post Office, It’s all where you cut the pie. By your count, how many full-time versus part-time residents are there served by Oysterville Water?

          Reply
      • sydney

        Sorry for your misinterpretation. I received many other emails and comments from folks who understood exactly what I was saying. Here is an example: “I agree with your comments regarding the Nahcati grave. Over the years I can hardly count the number of buckets of junk I have taken away from that site. Everything from feathers to shells to plastic toys and glass objects. Either I burned what I could or put the remainder in the garbage. For awhile it seemed that there must have been some group that went there on a regular basis to deposit this stuff. I felt that removing all that junk quickly was the best thing to do otherwise it could expand like graffiti in downtown Olympia. The policy is to get rid of it as quickly as possible. I wondered if there was some sort of cult worship going on but there was no way to really know for sure. The grave site was an eagle scout project ..”
        The flowers I spoke of were “planted” at the end of Clay Street (our grassy lane and a public right of way.) Flowers at the cemetery are acceptable but it is well to remember that the lots are owned privately and the owners should be consulted. It’s not only a matter of what is appropriate, but also a consideration of trespass.

        Reply
  3. bonny pearson

    Well put!!!

    Reply

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