Thursday, November 1, 2012

Behold Headstonehenge!

I meant to post this yesterday on Halloween because, well, it's a little creepy, but I got busy and never got around to it.

Yes, that is a firepit (still under construction) with old headstones as the benches. Am I the only person in the world with a backyard firepit comprised of cemetery totems? Perhaps. But don't worry, the owners don't mind. Ba dum ba!

Actually, no, I didn't steal them. These graveyard monoliths were acquired by completely honest means. For the story you'll have to read this 2008 F&S blog. Or I'll just cut-and-paste a graf or two...

From my ancient Field & Stream blog post...

I recently came into possession of a number of polished granite headstones. Now before you jump to any grave-robbing conclusions, I picked them up from an old building that used to be a monument company but is very soon going to be a pile of rubble. My plumber bought the property and told me I could scrounge anything I wanted. Imagine my surprise to find all these beautiful slabs of granite just lying around.

So I brought them home, much to my wife's chagrin. She flatly refused to allow me to scatter them through her flowerbeds. I thought it would be quirky and off-beat, but for some reason she considered it morbid and disturbing.

Since my reputation in the neighborhood is already a bit dodgy, I reluctantly agreed, but then hit on a great idea: I would find timeless quotes, inscribe them on the granite and place them strategically around our property! Even my wife agreed it was a pretty cool idea.

For example, this one is, which I found on Steve Bodio's excellent blog is going in front of my dog kennels: "Hee cannot be a gentleman whych loveth not a dogge" which comes from a 1555 book entitled "The Institucion of a Gentleman."

"Litera Scripta Manet" or "the written word endures" will be going on a slab placed outside my office window, while the Ben Johnson quote that hangs above the Shakespeare & Co. book store in Paris  "Thou art alive still while thy book doth live and we have wits to read and praise to give" will be going in my front yard.

So that's the background. In truth, I never got around to having inscriptions cut into the headstones because I changed my mind about the whole project. I scrapped the quotes idea and decided I would use the stones to build a miniature Stonehenge firepit in the back yard. That way, as I told the wife, on the summer and winter Solstices we could sacrifice a goat, then beat drums as we danced nekkid and fornicated around the fire. Or maybe beat drums, sacrifice the goat, then dance nekkid, then fornicate. Or maybe fornicate, then one of us dance nekkid while the other beat drums, and we just spare the goat.... hell, I don't know, we'd make it work somehow...

Anyway, the wife - needless to say - quickly informed me that, were I to actually build my miniature Stonehenge, I'd most certainly be dancing nekkid, beating drums and fornicating with myself. Or the goat.

Undaunted, I quickly got to work. Just as quickly, I realized that despite hauling three pick-up loads of headstones past our worried-looking neighbors, I wasn't going to have nearly enough stone to build even a half-ass Stonehenge replica. Dejected, I scaled back the project to a more attainable (and normal) goal. I chose a few stones, cut some firewood rounds for bases, and made headstone benches.

No Stonehenge replica, no nekkid fornicatin', no drum-beating and (in hindsight, probably a good thing) no freaked-out neighbors. Just an ordinary backyard firepit that just happens to have a tastefully understated touch of ghoulish weirdness to it.

It's not finished, of course. I still need to put down flagstone within the circle, and I still have a lot of unused headstones I haven't figured out how, exactly, to incorporate into the design. But it serves its purpose well enough. The dogs like it, anyway.

And even though it's not technically correct, I still like to call it Headstonehenge. It's a good conversation starter. Or ender, depending on how you're wired. I've used it as both...


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  2. Here's a conversation starter/ender for you: It's often said that sitting on cold stones or concrete gives you chalfonts, would you say this was true? You being the perfect person to ask an all being the only person in the world with a backyard firepit comprised of cemetery totems.

    <a href=">Translation</a>