There were, but they’ve disappeared. How and where have they gone? Surely the cemetery’s landscape crew cannot be picking up stones while never bending to remove weeds. Within the confines of a cemetery, stones should re-circulate forever, as they once did.

All of this would be understandable if someone at the cemetery entrance would be selling a small bucket of stones (like golf balls at a practice range) or if the unfailing recirculation of paper clips were also to stop. If the former occurred we’d recognize crass commercialization; in the latter case, perhaps global warming could be blamed. (Can you imagine how awful it would be if what befouled the cemetery stones were to affect paper clips as well?)

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So, then, I present this aggravating mystery with no clue to its resolution. Other than the advice that follows, all that can be offered are sincere wishes for a healthy, good new year, plus two specific pleas: may the shortage of stones be your worst problem; and may you continue to search for those stones for many more years. In the meantime, I advise that you bring your own.

Arnold Mazur is an attorney and businessman who retired at an early age to, in his words, “do nothing.” Occasionally, he writes.

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