My ongoing war with the cemetery where my Mom and Dad (along with various other relatives) were buried has come to an end.

My Dad bought graves there more than 20 years ago. Headstones too. Everything. Bought and paid for. But since both were still living at that time their headstones included the year of their birth, but not their death. Of course. These small brass plates with a four digit year on them were paid for, to be applied after they were dead. My Mom died in 2005 and within a month that plate was installed on hers. Dad died last May, and the plate bearing the year of his death had yet to show up. I stopped in a few times to ask about it and was always told, “it’s been ordered, we’ll get it installed as soon as it arrives”.

Months passed. Many months. Too many months and my anger at this oversight was growing into something incredibly ugly. Maybe it was my grief coupled with their deceitful business practices, whatever, it was bound to reach some explosive conclusion.

It got to the point where I was rehearsing the speech I intended to lay on them during my next visit, and in the rehearsed version I threaten to come back and “shoot the place up” if that plate still wasn’t installed. But then thoughts of being arrested for making terroristic threats prevented me from making that mistake. I briefly considered getting the VA involved, Dad was a WWII veteran and I imagined a protest of military veterans outside the cemetery entrance would be impactful…

In the end I went into the cemetery office one day, closed the door, and explained forcefully that Dad paid for that plate more than 20 years ago and that I was going to tell this story about the 95 year-old World War II veteran being robbed and disrespected by a cemetery to the local newspaper. I had been coming there for nine months trying to get this last thing finished for my Dad, and they had been lying to my face about ordering the plaque all this time.

“I was blaspheming in a way that made my breath smell of brimstone…“ - Mark Twain

I concluded my tirade with the most foul-mouthed thesaurus powered string of degradation I could possibly muster. My Mom literally spun in her grave that day (sorry Mom). I walked out, slamming the door behind me. Three days later, the plate was affixed to my Dad’s headstone.

The moral of the story: “the meek might inherit the earth” but angry and profane is what gets shit done.