Some time ago, while doing genealogical research, I came across a webpage dedicated to one of my great-great grandfathers. The site included a photo of his gravestone, at the bottom of which was engraved this phrase:
1st Line: Gone but not for
2nd Line: gotten
Huh? Did the person who carved this gravestone at the end of the 18th century think "forgotten" was two words, or did he just not plan ahead? Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking if I'd had the job of carving a permanent inscription on stone, I might have laid out the whole message with a piece of chalk before I started cutting.
It's not the stone I want to talk about but the phrase, "gone but not forgotten," which is apparently a timeless sentiment. As a matter of fact, I saw it again today, painted professionally in large script--stretched out across the width of the dark-tinted rear window of a pimped-out ride.
If you think "Gone But Not Forgotten" is a catchy slogan for a fast, flashy automobile, I'd have to agree with you. That's what I thought it was, too, but I was mistaken.
Centered directly below "Gone But Not Forgotten" was a saucer-sized white dove, and on each side of the dove was a different nickname. (At least I hope they were nicknames; one of them was "Toxic.") Below each name, in the same meticulous script, was a date of birth and a date of death. These two people died about two years apart, both at relatively early ages. I hope they were young enough that they'd have thought it cool to have a car window dedicated to their memory.
The car, which appeared by its squared-off shape to be an '80s model, was in immaculate condition with a gleaming new paint job. The bottom third was the same bright white as the memorial message, and the rest was cherry red. The windows, all tinted way darker than I believe the law allows, provided the touch of black that HGTV designers tell us is needed to "anchor" a good design. And the dazzling spinners on the wheels? Well, they probably cost more than the whole rest of the car.
Shoe-polish messages on car windows are common in this sports-minded part of the country. Usually it's "Go Tigers!!!" or "We're No. 1," so I didn't pay much attention to this one at first. Then I did a double take.
I don't know what to think about this. Part of me thinks, Oh, how sad, he misses his loved ones so much that he painted their names on his car. And another part of me is thinking, HOLY CRAP! HE PAINTED THEIR NAMES ON HIS CAR!?!
I wonder if people in my great-great-grandfather's day ever painted the dearly departed's epitaph on the back end of a wagon and drove it around from farm to farm and into town and back. I like to think not.