Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Can a cemetery make you thirsty?

Fairview Cemetery is New Albany's Pere Lachaise, albeit without Edith Piaf or Jim Morrison. However, there is Jouett Meekin, who gets my vote for greatest baseball player ever to emerge from my city -- deadball era, steroid error, whatever. It has been suggested that Meekin may have enjoyed the occasional tipple after his retirement from the big leagues, when he returned home to become a fireman. Might he have imbibed at the tavern across the street from Paul Reising Brewing Company?

During my stroll on Sunday through the city of the dead, which is located a few blocks from my home in one direction, and from Bank Street Brewhouse in another, I saw this monument and lifted an eyebrow. To begin with, it's the rare Slavic surname among the many German, Irish and English inhabitants.

In the Czech language, a "sládek" is a maltster. Was our Mr. Sladek the descendent of a maltster?

One of the tallest monuments in Fairview bears the name Baylor, and if I were to ask numerous city officials (or AB InBev executives) for their opinion, they'd probably reply by pointing out certain phallic convergences.

Cemeteries make you wonder: Will your life and work be remembered? I'm not sure it matters. Almost thirty years ago, I walked along the Appian Way while visiting Rome. Crumbling 2,000-year-old memorials bore the names of tremendously important people who've been forgotten for almost as long. Gazing at them, lost in reverie, I soon realized the significance of the here and now -- namely, autos zooming past my vantage point on the one-lane road. I opted for life, and repaired to the nearest bar for sustenance.

The Bavarians know: In heaven there is no beer; that's why we drink it here.

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