I'm Oliver Webber, here with my research assistant, Kaydence Ribetnauer. You may not be able to see us because we're tucked in between these blades of grass, waiting for our next meal to fly in and land on one of them. To nourish our bodies and souls, we ponder leaves. We encourage contemplation... especially in regard to issues that will have to be handled when we become worm grub. We hope to motivate others to thoughtfully cultivate preferences and decisions while still vigorously leaping around. We recommend croaking... using voices to broadcast wishes before it's too late to have a voice in this matter. Other than a sumptuous supply of insects, this is assuredly the most "toad-ally" considerate gift we could leave for our life companions! Don't you agree? We invite you to get your feet wet by joining our pond of pondering pre-planners. Let's make croaking meaningful!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Fly'Bye Lady Visit In FLORIDA


Only a few months ago, headquarters for the National Cremation Society on Bee Ridge Road had been a typical funeral home.  As part of a network of cremation providers with package plans, it also offers supplemental services either at need or through pre-need membership contracts.  A wall mural with a natural outdoor scene provides a colorful focal point for commemorative gatherings in their small chapel.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Fly'Bye Lady Visit In FLORIDA


A return visit to the burgeoning Sarasota National Cemetery led to a realization that much progress has been made since a previous stopover when it was in its embryonic stages.  Land for the state’s seventh national burial site for veterans was acquired in 2007 and is situated on 295 acres; originally a ranch, it had been farmed since the 1800s.  Now there is a lovely administration building and welcome center rather than construction trailers that formerly served as the seat of operations.  Gravesites can be located via a kiosk.  Personnel are on hand to offer information. Attractive committal shelters dot the landscape, proffering an alternative to final rites at the gravesides.  An expansive columbarium complex has been added, and an amphitheater will rise from the ground in the near future. 

Having meandered through many burial grounds of recent vintage, it was interesting to observe contrasts within the longstanding Sarasota Memorial Park.  Beyond their lawn crypts (areas with pre-constructed spaces defined by a collection of vaults already in place), a mausoleum bespeaks historical relevance, yet newcomers are still occupying the premises.  Standard bronze identity plates mirror the effects of time and weather influences.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anderson-McQueen FUNERAL HOME

Fly'Bye Lady Visit In Florida

Think back to school days of your youth.  Do you recall that the piercing blast of your alarm clock was more tolerable on days when you would be leaving the school building for a class outing of some sort?  Wasn’t it easier to rouse yourself from cozy doldrums of denial between the sheets?  Well, perhaps the same mechanism might do the trick when attempting to muster up motivation to shed your shrouds of avoidance and explore the death domain.  Prospects for a peek at funerary action in the real world to transcend the usual informative resources just might awaken you gently to fresh perspectives. 

So here’s an opportunity to take a virtual jaunt to sunny Florida by way of reading a synopsis of my recent travels.  A quest for funerary insights gleaned from a different part of the country led The FLY-'BYE Lady to “snowbird” territory.


The Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home encompasses four facilities – two funeral homes, a crematorium, and a cemetery.  This family-owned establishment has incorporated amenities that epitomize finer details.  At one of their sites, besides the fresh-baked cookies and Starbucks coffee available for guests, an automated grand piano in the welcoming entry space generates background ambience (perhaps to connote that life goes on even in the absence of "the player"?).  At both funeral homes, a room accommodates guests for catered receptions – a service increasingly provided in states where food is permitted in funeral homes.  Brightly decorated playrooms are geared toward children’s comfort in a milieu conducive to helping them cope with issues of death.  

But certain features stand out from the usual ones.  One of their buildings is designed in a square configuration so that all of the rooms face a central aviary full of vivacious and colorful birds.  Upon entering what some people might wrongly assume would be a “den of death,” one is struck by their liveliness.  When the chapel curtains are open, the aviary is a backdrop for either a commemorative affair or a funeral service with a centrally located casket accentuated symbolically by spirited possibilities beyond demise. 

A separate pet crematory and pet hearse complement the human ministrations that are offered, based on acknowledgment that loss of such companions potentially evokes grieving and the need to mourn.  A room for visitation and even a memorial service is designed specifically to regard pet loss, with a padded cushion for the animal on an altar up front, a waterfall, relevant wall photos, and comfortable chairs around the perimeter. 

Beyond such appointments, though, is the reason why this particular enterprise has drawn the attention of mavericks in the industry as well as consumers.  Located within their crematory, equipment for a water-based alternative to flame cremation has been installed and is now operational.  Anderson-McQueen took the plunge and is almost the first provider in this country to offer alkaline hydrolysis for humans, seemingly a fast-approaching wave of the future.  Approval has been secured in seven states so far, but is pending in fifteen others.  Whether this methodology or standard cremation is chosen, guests here can be seated in spaces that face windows for observation. For cremation, they can even begin the incendiary process via a control panel discreetly positioned on the wall.  

Note to providers of services and products: 
If you operate a business venture that you'd like The Fly-'Bye Lady to visit, contact her for consideration and possible inclusion in plans for future meanderings and follow-up blog entries.  
Send requests or comments to:  passages@ponderingleaves.com