But everybody in the village knows about her B side... she obviously made an impression on the village that would not go away even after she had left this mortal coil...
The most interesting of the carved grave markers celebrate the fickle nature of death: machines just happen to blow up, planes accidentally fall out of the sky, cars just naturally tend to hit people:
And drink. The poetry of the grave markers is wry and reflects the way village opinion saw the deceased during their lives. People in Maramureş drink a lot of home brew, and some drink more than others. It's a hard country with few pleasures, and from the few fruits they can coax from the poor mountain soil they brew plum and apple brandy.
Tavern keepers are also well represented in the other side. This one apparently drank himself to a deathly white paleness on his road to the afterlife. Or else the artist had run out of beige paint.Trains are a particular danger. After a walk around the cemetery you simply don't want to go near a train. They kill in all sorts of ways. You can get all dressed up to go out and still manage to find yourself slammed by a locomotive:
From the evidence on some of the grave markers it seems that Romanians have been experimenting with the notion of extreme sports long before the arrival of cable television. Note to self: definitely do not try roller skating along the railroad tracks. Ever.
Or you can simply be walking along the tracks and suddenly find yourself crushed to death. The look on this poor fellow's face says it all. Oops!The poem accompanying this gravestone said something along the lines "And now my children are in the hands of God / Which is probably better than being in my hands" The laws of Darwinsim are always a bitter pill to take. And speaking of bitter pills: the Romanian attitude towards visiting the hospital:Ever notice how many people go to the hospital and then die? Lesson: Don't go to the hospital! Some of the markers date back to earlier times and reflect historical realities. This one is of a shepherd cruelly killed and beheaded by Hungarian Gendarmes during WWII.
And many of the graves show the happier moments of village life, with poems declaring sentiments like "In my life I loved to sing / And always bought a round / And paid the fiddler well/ But now i'm dead and gone"
This is the soul of the Maramures region. The peasants up here have held off all of the twentieth century's interlopers - they maintain their Greek-Orthodox church traditions, their thick country dialect, their bewildering fiddle music, their hard drinking ways, and their tradition-bound ideas about life and death. They are some of the toughest, most moral people you will find in Europe today. Let them lift a glass or two in peace. Like the song says Aşa beau oamenii buni "That's how the good folk drink/ They drink from Saturday until Monday."