Above The Fruited Plain: Vandals Bolster American Sentiment

Lincoln, NE – A new fad has taken root in the graveyard enthusiast community; tired old headstones are getting a facelift.  Volunteers with a local group are sneaking into cemeteries all over the city in the dead of night to paint the monuments with bright colors and add cheerful decorations.

“We just feel that the grey monolith has run its course.” says Lemonn Gentworth, president of Graveyard Rejuvenators International: Midwest, otherwise known as GRIM.  “There’s no reason people looking at a cemetery should ever be reminded of death, and nothing says “death” like ugly grey rocks sticking up out of the ground.  With a little paint and maybe some tasteful dolphin figurines, cemeteries might become a place so removed from the awful stigma of death that you could host a toddler’s birthday party, or have a badminton tourney, or sell puppies to homeless people, or whatever.  The possibilities are really endless.”   To date, Gentworth and his volunteers have “colorfied” (the official GRIM term) about 100 graves in and around Lincoln, with plans to move on about 250 more.

While it should be noted that these activities are viewed as vandalism under the law (punishable by death in North Korea) and there has been some outcry from concerned citizens.  Local resident Jarvis Wayne II voiced his concerns on the back porch of his humble farmhouse on the outskirts of town, overlooking his neighbor’s fields, and the family graveyard that lies just beyond the white picket fence.  “Well I was actually pretty shocked at first.”  he said. “I just woke up one morning and saw all of my ancestors had a coat of yellow paint on the headstones.  I called my preacher just to make sure you know, there wasn’t anything untoward about it, you know with the dead and all that.  And then I called the hospital to make sure they would tell those ambulance helicopter pilots that I did not have a landing pad in my back yard, what with the yellow and all.  After that, the more I thought about it, I guess it was really OK.  I think Grandpa Jarvis might even have liked it, you know with the yellow and all.”

Despite the controversy, one would be hard pressed to recreate a more idyllic scene of Americana .  A salt-o-the-earth midwesterner, sipping tea on his porch, the sun setting on the horizon, illuminating the Amber Graves of Wayne.

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