Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gravestones where you least expect them!

On the 4th of July a few years ago, 2007 to be exact, we went fishing with family.  It was a beautiful day and everyone was enjoying the sun, the ocean, and time with each other.  When I got annoyed at my own clumsiness, I turned my attention to other things.  You can find the post about that day here.

If you are on Facebook, here is a link to the fishing story:

My attention turned to photos of the interesting surroundings.  Here is what I wrote about a very oddly-placed item:
"As luck would have it, and as odd as I am about such things, I get to be the lucky one to spot a gravestone cemented to the reef at right about the high-tide water line."
Keep in mind that this was more than four years before I found some like-minded people and became the Graveyard Rabbit that I am now.  

Stone mounted on the reef
Ellen May McEnroe Miles passed away in May of 1999.  I tried that day in 2007 and I have tried since to look up her name on the Internet but I have found very little about her.  I did find something on one of the ancestor sites but could not find out any real detail about her or her life.

Perhaps she was a family member of the family that lived in the house fronting the beach where we were.  Maybe she loved Hawaii and this was her final wish.  Maybe her ashes were spread here.

Stone at rising tide

The inscription says, "Soaring through the heavens."  Perhaps someone will see this and leave a comment about who she was and/or why her grave marker is here.  It is quite a conversation piece, if you happen to be around at low tide.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What on Earth is a Graveyard Rabbit?

If you look to the right you will see a strange looking rabbit and wonder what that is all about.  Trust me, so did I!  I'm supposed to be a what?  What's a Graveyard Rabbit?  I had to know!  It did not take very much or very long to find out.  Who doesn't love Google at times like this?

The Graveyard Rabbit
by Frank Lebby Stanton

In the white moonlight, where the willow waves,
He halfway gallops among the graves—
A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam,
Content to dwell where the dead men dream,
But wary still!        5
For they plot him ill;
For the graveyard rabbit hath a charm
(May God defend us!) to shield from harm.
Over the shimmering slabs he goes—
Every grave in the dark he knows;        10
But his nest is hidden from human eye
Where headstones broken on old graves lie.
Wary still!
For they plot him ill;
For the graveyard rabbit, though sceptics scoff,        15
Charmeth the witch and the wizard off!
The black man creeps, when the night is dim,
Fearful, still, on the track of him;
Or fleetly follows the way he runs,
For he heals the hurts of the conjured ones.        20
Wary still!
For they plot him ill;
The soul’s bewitched that would find release,—
To the graveyard rabbit go for peace!
He holds their secret—he brings a boon        25
Where winds moan wild in the dark o’ the moon;
And gold shall glitter and love smile sweet
To whoever shall sever his furry feet!
Wary still!
For they plot him ill;        30
For the graveyard rabbit hath a charm
(May God defend us!) to shield from harm.

Edmund Clarence Stedman's American Anthology 
1787-1900, published in 1900

That anthology actually contains five of Stanton's lyric poems.  I fell in love with this poem as I'm sure the founders of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits must have.  Well, that is until about the 28th line or so -- "To whoever shall sever his furry feet!"  The scary part of that line is that I had a recurring dream when I was a child -- I kept dreaming that I had to wear special skates or my feet would fall off.  Seriously!  I kid you not!  I wonder if that was somehow prophetic.  Hmmm... kind of creepy actually.

At any rate, I don't think I will ever want to look at or touch a rabbit's foot again! But, that is for another conversation.

I love the poem and I love that my new found association adopted it!  I'll adopt it too -- with an ever-so-slight different selection of words.  Getting back to that button on the right, it was lovingly designed by yet another graveyard rabbit, the footnoteMaven.  You might want to Google that name too!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jose Rizal's memory lives on at Mililani Memorial Park

Who is that statue?  Who is José Rizal?  My oh my, what a loaded question that turned out to be!  I should be ashamed of myself for not knowing.  Don't ask me why I think I should feel ashamed, but I do!    

In the Phillipines, José is a national hero!  He was a brilliant man who stood up and spoke for his people and against the established regime and other powers trying to manipulate his people.  He earned a degree as a doctor and he also wrote novels.  
"Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?"  The Reign of Greed, José Rizal.
Rizal Day is celebrated every year on December 30th, the anniversary of his death/execution in 1896.  December 30, 2011 marked the 115th anniversary of the wrongful execution of this young, wonderful life.

During his travels he actually became conversational in 22 languages!

"He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish."

It is a good thing that I am pretty fond of my language!

I did ask Mililani Cemetery why this statue is there.  They could not answer me about its history.  They could only tell me that it had been there as long as they had been working there.  I did, of course, asked about the hat.  The reply was that people put leis on him all the time so maybe someone was trying to protect the head of the statue.
"Oh, from the sun?"
"No, from the birds!"
"Good point."
If they locate the history of the statue, the promised to call me and let me know.  Then I can share it with all of you.

José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda
The statue certainly does not do him justice -- he really was a very nice looking man.  Wikipedia had this photo and I was very happy to be able to share a true representation of this very young and brilliant man.

If you read through even a little of his history, you can see why he is a hero with the Filipino people!  

You can follow this link to get a better idea of his biography.  This was the best synopsis of his story that I ran across.  Just let me say that I am very impressed and will visit in his honor when I can and report any new discoveries about the statue's history.