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Apr 2001 / the ordinary eye :: email this story to a friend

The Sweet Hereafter
By David Lancaster

I am not a religious person, but I cherish the time spent in cemeteries, the sculpture gardens of death. Saints, martyrs, angels and crucifixes promise an afterlife, help us to grieve, honor the dead and urge the living to live better lives. Then there are the mausoleums, monuments to lives well-lived, whose accompanying statuary occasionally strays playfully beyond Judeo-Christian iconography. One remarkable example in Bellefontaine Cemetery, the Tate family monument, features a pair of twin sphinxes whose sculptor could not possibly have known in 1906 that he had hewn the spitting image of a future president whose animal urges would lead him to the door of political death.

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Among his many talents and hobbies, David Lancaster is the editor of Where magazine in St. Louis.

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