My fascination with roadside memorials and graveyards and cemeteries is no secret. When I visit friends living abroad, most will have lined up a cemetery or three to take me to. Some of these places I want to go back to and take more time, like the desert dirt roads around Maricopa Arizona. I was fascinated by the number of roadside memorials. My bestie, DF, sent me some pictures today of one they spotted up by Gilla Bend, figuring it’d be one I’d like. And I do.
I was particularly taken with the stone bench and the epitaph which eschewed the usual born and died and used instead sunrise and sunset. How lovely is that? And what a way to think of a life. I’ve wondered at these roadside memorials as someone told me that occasionally, they’re actual burial sites. So this one I checked.
Interestingly, the obituary that appeared in the Washington Post shows Ray dying a day earlier, on the 19th. He was in a car accident near his home in Maricopa, most likely where the memorial was placed. A native of St Louis, he’s actually buried in Kansas City. He was only 40 when he died. And so suddenly. Instead of flowers, donations were asked for the Ray Morrow Foundation, set up to assist people in need in his adopted homeplace. I can’t find any trace of it now, but I sincerely hope his legacy lives on.
These types of memorials dot the desert around Maricopa. Behind each cross is the story of a life that has been lived and usually cut short all too soon. I like that they’re there. And I like that as well as remembering Ray, my friend remembered me.