Thursday, July 28, 2005

Paying Homage

I don't know about you, but I do a lot of things that are an homage. This has come up a lot in conversations lately. I'm not talking about the big things - monuments, gatherings, and what have you. I'm more interested in the little things.

My friend J. is paying homage with a lamp. As long as she has it, it remains connected to the story of its previous owner. If it went to the thrift shop along with the rest of the stuff, it would still be the coolest lamp ever, but the story would be severed from it.

Reverendmother recently wrote a series of remembrances. Part of the rememberance was a bag of dirt. No more, no less. But the dirt was an homage. And the bag of dirt kept a story going. From one generation to the next.

I just bought the DVD of one of my favorite obscure movies of all time. It was a British show that was on Mystery! in 1996 or 97. Its a pretty stupid mystery but I fell in love with the story because it is all about homage. The murder itself is totally irrelevant and just a vehicle for a character to travel around Britain to honor, in mostly very small ways, all the bits and pieces of life that are important to him.

Homage, for me, is not about the big picture.

Exploring cemeteries is a partly about homage for me. I love gravestones that give you a hint about the story, instead of just a name and a couple of dates. Sometimes the story is in the items that surround the grave itself - a particular flower or a possession imebedded in concrete. A hundred years ago people wrote epitaphs. You got a small piece of the wit, wisdom or story of the life remembered. I'm beginning to see more and more contemporary stones that tell stories. Instead of a pithy saying there may be a laser cut granite portrait of the person's house, dog, truck, farm or boat. Its nice to know a little more of the story. Remeber the old saying "take a button and sew a vest to it"? I am a champion vest sewer.

What do you do to celebrate stories?

How do you pay homage?

10 comments:

Captainwow said...

I was standing at my dad's headstone one day (he died in 1999), sort of picking at a piece of it and :snap: it came off. So I kept it. I felt a little silly. But I couldn't throw it on the ground and leave it there. Now I'm glad I did that. I'm not much of a grave visitor to begin with, and now I live far enough away that it's more of a drive to get there. The little piece of granite stays in my little cedar box of memories and other little homages.

annie said...

One thing that immediately comes to my mind is a small branch from a dogwood tree. I've had it for over twenty years. My grandfather cut it off from the tree and told me if I'd take it and peel the bark away, the wood underneath would be a pure white and it would dry and stay that way.

halloweenlover said...

I've never seen a headstone like that. I like it.

I haven't done much in the way of homage, except for keeping a journal of things I am grateful for. Some of those things are totally random memories that I jot down. Then when I leaf through it, I can remember the whole scene and the way it happened. Never fails to make me smile. I need to think more about how to pass on memories, though.

SpookyRach said...

Those are all wonderful bits of tribute. I can't think of a better homage than to be thankful for life, Halloweenlover.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I have a treasure box. I hope someone realizes that it is a treasure box if I just up and die. In it, is a recipe for red velvet cake written by my grandmother. My favorite cake in the world and no one made it like her. And she would use toothpicks to hold the layers together. ~laffin~ It is a wonder that we did not get killed. Also, there is a letter that she saved for me and gave me a few years ago. My Daddy wrote it and sent to his aunt about 1 week after I was born. He tells her all about me. She saved that letter for 35 years just to give to me. I got to be there when she died. She was surrounded by the women of her family and passed away as we sang Amazing Grace.

little david said...

I have an homage to my dad. It's an event rather than an object. At one point in my life I was a handyman. One day I was called out to install a ceiling fan at Henry's house. While I stood on the ladder working, he told me about building his house. Seems he and his wife had done all the work themselves. "Almost didn't happen, though," hesaid. When I told the mortgage loan officer that we were planning to do all the work ourselves--concrete, electrical, plumbing--he said the bank couldn't finanace the house. All the capital would be in one place. Well, that made me so mad, I marched upstairs to tell my regular banker to close all my accounts. He told me to calm down and tell him what was wrong. When I told him, he had a proposal:'You tell me how much you need to get started anad I will arrange a loan for that amount. You start paying it off and when you need more, come back and we'll do another loan.'" Henry looked around his house and said,"Yessir, if it hadn't been for Harry Howle, we might never have had this house." I stopped and looked down at Henry. "Harry Howle is my father," I said. I had never been prouder of my dad.

C. said...

Homage, is that like garbage or garage? Whatever,I seem to have plenty of ways I live with stories of the past. Collections start with a story or a warm feeling for that thing from the past. Buttons, I remember my grandmother's button box. Cookie cutters, grandma made sugar cookies when I became a grandma I started the sugar cookie tradition with first grandchild. Then there is the apple box full of old letters and memorabilia gleaned from the attic floor of a rented house that was for years inhabited by a spinster lady. Probably the heirs dumped trunks and left the trash. The owner not only gave his permission but also his blessing on its removal. I read the letters and cards, looked over her keepsakes and knew the lady by name. After several moves the box, labeled "Here Lies Norma O." goes with me, I can't bring myself to dump her life out again. Now that's just a few of the homages I still find room for even after down sizing.

SpookyRach said...

I see there are a lot of champion homagists (?) among us!

C. - tomato/tomahto, potato/potahto. And occasionally potatoe. Ha!

St. Casserole said...

I think I recall that MYSTERY. The man traveled around with a young woman visiting places and went to see an old man who carved marble or granite. Is that the one?

I pay homage by wearing a piece of the loved one's jewelry or drinking tomato juice (long sweet story) or recalling the person when I see or hear something I think they'd enjoy.

the reverend mommy said...

Too much and too many to recall here -- I just don't want the stories to be lost. An item is just that -- a thing without the story. I try to write them down, but I can't do it fast enough....