Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wilmington Cemeteries in the Snow

Regardless of what Saab I own at the time, they all seem to want a new water pump for Christmas. Prayer doesn't seem to help. My current Turbo convertible cemetery traveler jumped the gun a bit – I had to give it a water pump the day before Thanksgiving. (I mean, couldn’t it at least have waited until at least Hanukkah?)

The only thing that assuages my pain during these "Saab Stories" is the fact that I get my work done at Sports Car Service in Wilmington, Delaware, and there are several cemeteries in the vicinity. In fact, lovely Riverview Cemetery is within walking distance of the service center.
This particular day before Turkey Day was a messy one. Rain was expected all morning, which would turn to snow in the afternoon. Maybe I would experience my first snow of the season in a cemetery. I drove south, twenty-five miles from Philly on I-95 in the dark and pouring rain that Wednesday at seven a.m. You may be asking yourself why I would go through such trouble when there’s an auto mechanic on just about every street in South Philly, where I live. Remember, I drive Saabs. Pretty much no one can fix these things - except for Sports Car Service in Wilmington. I’ve tried many places. They all make the situation worse, and cost you more money. People actually drive MUCH further than Philadelphia to have their dead nameplate cars serviced here (Saab Automotive went out of business in 2012).

Mausoleum in the Brandywine and Wilmington Cemetery

Waiting in the waiting room while my car was being mauled, I watched the pouring rain. Now, I like taking pictures of cemeteries in the rain, but I wasn’t about to walk the half mile to Riverview in this weather. I did some work on my laptop and strolled the showroom looking at the fancy cars. After a couple of hours, I had to get out. I went across the street to the greasy spoon diner for brefass. My car was ready shortly after I returned.
Sleet scene from Brandywine and Wilmington Cemetery

With my wallet four hundred dollars lighter, I decided to take in some cheap entertainment while in town. Cemeteries, I have found, are very cheap entertainment. And Wilmington has some fine ones to choose from. Nothing grand, yet each with its own quirky attractions.

I drove around Riverview Cemetery a while, making a few photos here and there. It was just raining too hard to even open the windows. I decided to drive up Market Street a bit and stop in to see David Bromberg (one of my favorite folk/blues musicians since the 1970s, see link) at his violin shop, "David Bromberg Fine Violins." Not that I do this all the time, mind you – in fact, this would be approximately the first time ever. But with graveyards in mind, and him getting up there in age (he turned my favorite number – 69  – this year (2014), I really wanted to tell him how much joy his music has given me over the years. God forbid he die without him knowing this!
David Bromberg's violin business, Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 

Snowing on the dog (and robin!)
After a brief chat with David, I exited his shop as it began to snow. It was cold and windy. I headed over to the nearby Brandywine and Wilmington Cemetery, maybe two miles away. The snow mixing with sleet provided this hillside Victorian graveyard with quite a nice effect. I was able to get out of my car here and there, to photograph various scenes with an umbrella over my head. The black dog here always takes me by surprise.

Scene from Wilmington's Cathedral Cemetery

I needed to get some lunch so I headed over to the area where Cathedral and Silverbrook Cemeteries are located, a couple three miles west of downtown Wilmington. Plenty of fast food joints (and bathrooms!) over there. Cathedral is a much more interesting place to me, having quite a bit more statues and ornate mausoleums than Silverbrook (which appears to be newer and simpler). I always seem to notice some new odd detail whenever I’m in Cathedral, like the "Little Sisters of the Poor" plot, an extraordinary zinc monument and this odd car lot across the street – why the cross in the name? Bizarre.

Most of the photos I took were with my point-and-shoots out my car windows or with the windows cracked open. I did brave the cold, high winds, and rain however, to get some high vantage point photos of the praying child atop this 1876 zinc (or “white bronze” as some people call it) memorial. 

In all, it was a very productive day. I headed home with images I could post on BOTH my “Cemeteries in the Rain” AND “Cemeteries in the Snow” Facebook Group pages from the same day’s photo shoot! So while I don’t look forward to my next auto repair, I at least know that when I return, there will always be interesting things to do in Wilmington.