Pink caskets and road trips

I’m writing this in the Admiral’s Club in the O’Hare airport in Chicago, leg two of my July journeys. I spent most of last week in the Orlando area, talking to public records experts and journalism professors.

I got to stay in a lovely resort — courtesy of my girlfriend, who was attending a work conference — and check out the Marriott Grade Lakes’ lazy river and extremely well-equipped gym. Still, though, it was a work trip. This leg is the true vacation part, part of a father-son trip my dad and I try to do on an annual basis. Last year we hung out on the beach in Nicaragua, something that would be ill-advised these days.

But since the vacation has yet to truly start, I can only write now about what happened a few days ago. As part of those travels, I drove from Orlando to Gainesville for an appointment I had with the peerless Frank LoMonte of the University of Florida. After that very fruitful meeting, I headed south to Lecanto, a tiny berg near the state’s west coast to meet up with some family for dinner.

The meeting ended in the early afternoon, and because I had about three hours to kill I took the long way there. Though I can’t see I came across anything too earth shattering, I did find a curious, unfenced cemetery at a crossroads in the town of Williston, a place I had not previously known existed.

The graves, mostly above-ground crypts, sat in clumps in what appeared to be an open field. Though I call them “crypts” they were fairly modest affairs, with little relation to the mini-mausoleums favored by Hollywood types and the absurdly rich. I’m speculating here, but I’m thinking this has to do with the water table making a more common burial impractical.

A few were fairly old — from the 1970s and a bit before — many were from this century, with 2007 marking the most recent I found. It seemed, well, curious. A number were also painted in bright purple and pink, though I’m not sure if this signified anything about the deceased.

Stay tuned for more bulletins about my rambling.

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