Death and Taxes

It was Benjamin Franklin who, in a letter to a friend wrote: “Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” After my miserable dealings with the income tax department I can vouch for the tax side of the statement. Taxes are a stand-alone item in our lives, unconnected to our age or where we live or what we do. We pay taxes and it’s a part of our lives. You earn, you pay. Earn more, pay more. Simple.

The death side of the quotation is equally certain. We have had a week of funerals and sad departures, leaving us somber and thoughtful about the meaning of life, as death always does. A walk through the cemetery does a great job of reducing everyone to the same level. It doesn’t matter who you were, how old you were, where you lived or what you did; inside the stone walls, you’re the same as everyone else.

Standing outside the cemetery for a few minutes before we entered, someone explained that the funeral would be taking place in the ‘new section’ where couples are buried together in a single grave. We went in and the funeral got under way, a quiet and dignified ceremony. The rain stayed away and even the wind dropped as if they too were part of the sadness.

We walked out between the graves and then onto the pathway to the gate. A couple walking arm in arm in front of us stopped and the wife turned to her husband and we heard her say, “What do they mean when they say the couples are buried together? I can’t see anything like that.”

The man looked around, shrugged and said, “These must be extra deep graves I guess. Sort of double story, if you know what I mean.”

The wife nodded. Then, after a short pause she said, “I see. Can I be on top?”



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