essays

Another Take on Death From the Left Coast

Green Hills Memorial ParkA work commute can turn out to be nothing, or everything. Not sure if it’s a California thing or just a thing but recently I noticed some people had decorated their loved ones’ graves for Halloween. The memorial park that I pass on the way to work, when I take the urban route, sits on a hill overlooking the port. It is called Green Hills but in California people say, “Palos Verdes.”

Though it is a cemetery, it is promoted as a park and on weekends you often see families sitting around the grave markers, visiting and playing, amidst balloons and flowers. Some groups cook lunch on hibachis. The markers are all lined up on the sloped hills so that the residents of the park presumably have a view. Once a week caretakers remove all the additions so they can manicure the park using mowers and edgers. One morning I noticed that at one of the markers, there were fresh Halloween decorations. They consisted of plastic and Styrofoam headstones senior citizen walkerthat said things like, “R.I.P.” and ”Be Very Afraid!” There were little plastic skeletons sitting around as well. Somehow having a picnic lunch there no longer seemed weird.

I had the chance to wonder what, if anything, trumps sisterhood, as I continued my commute. I saw some walkers ahead and when I got closer, realized that they were regulars, the 75-year-old triplets. They were sporting their identical frizzy perms and velour tracksuits. The suits, as usual, were the same but for the colors: forest, peach and taupe.  The ladies always walk in unison, talking and catching up. In my fantasy they live on the same street but in different houses. Today they each had something new to sport, identical greyhound puppies that looked about 6 months old, obviously from the same litter. All six were in lock step, which looked like a special type of exercise.

When the mighty Palos Verdes block the signal from NPR, it’s good to know that a commute can also produce food for thought. 

 

Kim Kohler writes on the uncertainties of living in a liberal hot spot where everybody has an opinion, every opinion counts and nobody uses turn signals.

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