Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Scanning Obituaries

Who knew? I certainly didn’t, and yet I find that I’m not alone. AdventureMan does it, too, and other friends. One friend says she thinks she scans the obituaries to celebrate the fact that she is still alive. That may be it for most of us, but in addition, I find that there are people living among us with amazing histories, and we don’t even know. Sometimes when you read an obit, you can tell that the person wrote it himself or herself, and what that person considered important in his/her life. Sometimes the obituary is not very loving.

Southern newspapers, in my experience, are much richer in extraordinary detail that newspapers in bigger cities, like Seattle. In bigger cities, only the rich and famous or notorious get much space; it may be that the space is far more expensive in the bigger cities, or that families are less willing to shell out from the estate for the bigger coverage. Southerners value family, and history; it’s a part of the culture.

Yesterday, when I took the Pensacola News Journal in to AdventureMan, I had circled something in one of the obituaries, knowing that he, like me, only reads them now and then. I didn’t want him to miss this line:

(Name) was a Past Mighty Chosen One of the Zelica Daughters of Mokanna, Ladies Auxiliary to the Grotto.

Holy smokes! I thought it might be one of the Mardi Gras Krewe things, but AdventureMan googled, and discovered that is a Masonic offshoot, and their larger groups are called Cauldrons. (!)

In America of the early 1900’s, social affiliation groups were important. People belonged to religious groups like Knights of Columbus, Ladies of the Church, etc, quasi-religious groups like Masons and Shriners, and social groups like the Elks and Moose and Lions Club. Some groups still exist, and are still going strong, like Rotary Club, and special interest groups. In Pensacola, there is a Tea Party AND a Coffee Party. There is a Philipino-American Republican Club. When people gather together regularly to share something in common, they can form a group. All of these groups help people be connected in their communities and in their lives, and help people to look after one another.

I belonged to a group once that called ourselves the Aqua-Babes. To be perfectly honest, we might not be total babes, but hey – it’s our group, we can call ourselves what we want, right?

But oh, my, to be a Mighty Chosen One . . .

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Aging, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Local Lore, Pensacola, Social Issues, Values | 2 Comments