The good cemeterian

Published 6:17 pm Saturday, December 10, 2016

Not long ago right here in this fine paper, I read where a lady was set to restore the main cemetery here in Brookhaven.

On the heels of that wonderful project I stumbled upon this story.

We have all heard of ‘the good Samaritan’ but have you ever heard of the ‘good cemeterian?’ Neither have I until lately. They are basically one and the same.

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As I was preparing to head out the door for church Sunday morn, I saw the broadcast being presented of a most unusual activity going on down in the Tampa, Florida, area.

Veterans Day weekend was being observed by CBS in a most touching way.

Andrew Lumish from Land of Lakes is a carpet cleaner by trade and a gentleman devoted to cleaning the tomb stones and markers of vets was featured.

For about two years now, Andrew has been going out after his work or even before each and every day scrubbing and making new forgotten head stones throughout his area as a way of paying back to those who have served their country.

I was moved by what I saw.

It began as a novel idea with him to restore the blackened faces of the vets’ markers and due to being basically forgotten, he wanted to bring the memory of the soldier back to any who would come to view.

Sadly, most of us plant our loved ones in cemeteries and seldom return to pay our respects and thus the burial site and stones seldom get proper attention.

So glad the lady in Brookhaven is of the same heart as this man down in Tampa.

I am as guilty as any making only a yearly trip to place a rose on my mother’s and dad’s grave on Mother’s Day.

Lumish does this every day of every week, 365 days a year.

He said his motivating factor is that it his way of giving back to those who gave so much, his right to live in a free country and enjoy all its benefits.

How many of us pass on by the moldy grave markers as though they never existed?

How many of us have even thought to clean one?

Shame on us.

If the calendar and the papers did not remind us most of us would never commemorate Memorial Day or Veterans Day, or Pearl Harbor Day we just observed last Wednesday.

The Good Lord admonished Israel before entering into the Promised Land that when they became rich and fat from its bounty not to forget him.

But they did, and we do the same here in America.

We build schools and forget pupils, hospitals and forget patients, church houses and forget souls and form armies and forget soldiers.

And yes, we bury vets and loved ones and move on.

We, including me, forget so quickly what so many have done to secure for us a life of ease and plenty.

How rude and crude is it now for those who take a knee when the anthem is played?

They get most of the attention and coverage from their disrespect but there is a man down in Tampa who has not forgotten and daily goes to a cemetery to say thank you. And a woman in Brookhaven set on remembering those gone on.

I am reminded of the woman who anointed Christ’s head with a precious ointment from her alabaster box, and he said it was a memorial to his approaching death.

He went on to to say her act of kindness would never be forgotten as long as the world stood and that where ever his gospel should be preached, her story would be told.

What Andrew Lumish is doing will stand in judgment as a witness against the Colin Kaepernicks who have forgotten.

God will not forget this “good cemeterian” either.

Hats off to Andrew Lumish, and the honorable lady in Brookhaven, people who have not forgotten.

God bless you and God bless America.

Mike Dykes is a pastor and story teller. He can be reached at