Andy - camera dodging
After dinner activities:
When you find yourself in the market for a headstone go for gray.
(Notice that I spelled grey two different ways. It's because I think gray is right, but grey FEELS right.)
Back to headstone selection.....although burnished brown, rosy rose and slick black look awesome brand new, it doesn't take very long before hard water deposits build up a yucky scum. Unless you want to go out weekly and remove the buildup, or hire someone to do the job after you are laying under it, it's going to look bad. Think shower doors scum.
I've seen headstones that are 50-75 years old that look relatively new because you can't really see all the hard water deposits that have built up, whereas I've also seen black or any other color look pretty beat up after only a year or two.
Yes, aren't you lucky. Don't rub it in. If you DO want to rub it in you'll find me outside scrubbing the hard water deposits off my brown brick on the front of my house. (Why didn't I get grey?)
Although you may think it the ultimate homage to pay to your dearly departed, what you are actually doing is creating the perfect environment for little birdies to besmirch the headstone for decades to come. Birds are not discriminating poopers. They don't really care where it lands. If they are sitting in a tree that some kind soul planted, and they feel the slightest urge to "let it all go", they are not going to scooch over on their branch even a little to avoid hitting that rectangular stone directly beneath them.
.... and related to this help and hint,
You don't want to get it in the face if there happens to be a little birdie there who feels the slightest urge to "let it all go".
No, this has not happened to me, but it's only a matter of time.
I know, it's expensive. It's also hard and won't deteriorate. I've seen some lovely homemade headstones. The work gone into these labours (labors?)of love is tender. It makes me sad when I see one of these do-it-yourself jobs and can barely read the name or the date, even though it's less than 10 years old. Even the small metal plates that the funeral home puts on lasts longer than most of the wood or cement markers I've seen, and those lose letters quickly. Hold a bake or garage sale and get something that will last.
I know you really wanted to have dad included in your family photo, but he died before the new baby was born. Whatever you do DON'T photoshop dad into the picture and put said picture on the headstone. Geneologist for ages to come will scratch their heads and doubt the dates of the new baby's birth. (yes, I've seen this)
If you haunt cemeteries like I do (sorry for the pun, a little) and have wrecked the ligaments in your feet because of all that hiking over uneven ground, put on your combat boots before you do one more headstone. So what if you look like a zombie because of the way the boots make you have a lurching gait. Wait.......... um, well.... what better place for you to look like a zombie than in a cemetery! :) I promise that your feet will thank you later.