[Detail of a map of Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris. Taken from the Michelin PARIS Street Map which is part of The Green Guide.]
My last post did well among some of my readers. I would have liked to see a gazillion “LIKES” but it was not to be. That’s the life of a blogger. You write. You post it. You hope it will find minds out in cyber land that will read it and say: “Hey, that was pretty cool”.
But after spending the day (it was clear and 80 degrees Fahrenheit!) packing for our departure tomorrow for the Eurostar train that will take us from the Gare du Nord to the St. Pancreas station in London, I took a few minutes to reread the last post.
I found three major omissions in my writing. That’s not uncommon for me. I wrote the blog in the lobby of our hotel. The desk in our room I’m writing on now is small. I’m sharing the square inches with a coffee machine of some unknown make, a mouse pad, my Apple Watch charger and my pill container for tomorrows dose of whatever it is that keeps me from falling asleep into a plate of expensive linguine (with clam sauce…the shells alone would have torn apart my beard.)
And a can of Schweppes Tonic Water.
But I digress.
The first thing I noticed in the post was that I had made a comment about touching the letters of Charles Baudelaire and running my fingers over the faded red lipstick that nearly obliterated his name. The last time I encountered lipstick on a grave was in Los Angeles…a single lipstick imprint was placed just above the name of the person who was inches away, in a vault. It was the grave of Marilyn Monroe.
The second event we witnessed never got described. It was as we approached the center circular grass in the middle of the cemetery. I took it to be a memorial service. I did not photographic it for obvious reasons. A crowd of perhaps thirty people stood around a grave. Most of the women wore white. A pretty woman had just finished a reading. As we passed, I noticed that she was embracing an elderly woman with gray hair. We walked on. I wondered about the identity of the deceased.
We walked on, searching for Baudelaire’s grave we stopped at an intersection of several of the main ‘roads’ in the cemetery. A black hearse had just passed by. But what struck me was that all the mourners, maybe fifty or more, were all walking behind the hearse. Some were alone. Some were quietly talking. No man wore a hat. It was quiet and it was moving.
I thought of similar events in America. Usually, there is a long line of cars at the cemetery, all parked partly on the curb and some on the grass.
But these friends of the deceased. These folks were there that day to say farewell and watch as their friend or relative was being lowered into the ground.
The gentleman’s or gentlewoman’s final stop on their journey through life.
I apologize for these omissions. They would have looked better in the places where they belonged.
But that’s true of all of us, isn’t it?