Monday, December 27, 2010

ArtTraveler's memory invaded by backyard funeral in Hlebine, Croatia

Thanks to the generosity of Ivan and Anka Generalic, i was able to experience the funeral of a passing neighbor of theirs in the Croatian village of Hlebine.

Some memories, as we know, become imbedded, a part of our post traumatic past, part of that data bank that  from time to time blasts to the fore of our consciousness and cries for recognition..

The man was old, very old. HIs death was not unexpected. His death like all deaths when a man or woman reaches into the 80's is more blessing than anything. It happened while my ex-wife Lynn S. and I lived with Croatia's greatest naive painter, Ivan Generalic.

For a day it seemed, the body was displayed inside the home, much like you might imagine an Irish wake.  In the salon.

Then it was brought out into the back yard, again an open and simple wooden casket. And paid mourners, women who were the most expert of criers like a thespian  troupe, would be hired to cry, moan, scream and pour their paid-for tears over the body of the deceased with convincing emotion, inspiring attendees to join in.

It was good theatrics, but played from the heart.

When the rituals and crying and backyard grieving completed,  the friends, family and members of the village's citizenry would carry on their backs the coffin, two abreast and along a winding road to the cemetery where it would be deposited with more ritual six feet under.

This, like birth, appeared very much a part of the ritual of lilfe: death.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM)

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