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Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Turn Right At the Confederate Flag!"

I went "grave robbing" at the local cemetery today--retrieving mums to replant in my garden, actually, but I had you going, didn't I.  Someone had hooked up a hose to the faucet and had left the water running on the grass around a gravestone, so I borrowed the hose and watered a few drooping mums on the graves in the neighborhood of my parents' headstones.  Next to my parents' grave is a Confederate flag which adorns the grave of "a true southern bell".  I gave that old gal's flowers a good long dose. It was a grim stroll down memory lane.  A enighboring grave was of a classmate of mine from high school who unfortunately took his own life.  I watered around his headstone and gave the flowers a drink.  Then I pulled the hose over to the parents' of my good friend, Glay.  I washed off a little bit of bird poop and then turned another direction pausing at the graves of my P.E. teacher, Mrs. Rich, and high school librarian, Mr. Wilde.  That grave was just fresh because his wife died last winter and grass hasn't grown yet.  Over that way was the headstone of a former student--yet another suicide.  Too young to die.  There was the marker for the town florist I remember as a kid.  Up that way was the grave of a daughter of my sister's best friend in high school.  I remember that funeral--she was a young BYU student who fell asleep at the wheel returning home to CA one summer.  As I headed down the hill ("Wow, Madd!!.  You haven't even had a second to blog in goodness knows how long, and here you are wandering aimlessly among the dead...unexpected time on your hands???"), I noticed a marker with the names (no death date) of an elderly couple  I would greet by name when I pumped gas in about 20 minutes!  I'll bet all their drawers are orderly too!  I passed the marker of my neighbor Helen who died unexpectedly two winters ago. A friend and former English teacher I taught with (and whose daughter took my place when I left 7th grade a year ago) has a Henry David Thoreau quote on her tombstone--the one about leaving your castles in the air where they belong and building steps up to it. Lots of pictures of temples etched in stone.  Trout.  Elk. Lots of pine trees etched in--some with cabins in the foreground. Even a motorcycle appeared to grace a final resting place.  I can't imagine what I'd want on mine.   Quiet up there today.  I've visited this place many times.  It used to be a close walk when I lived just down the road.  I walked my beagle there.  It is also close enough to the high school that I could walk students over to sit and read  Spoon River Anthology or compose original poetry.  One spring my juniors were reading Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.  With a little research we learned that the Brits celebrate Dandelion Day which sounded like a smashing idea to us as well!  When the exact day arrived, we drug all manner of breakfast food over one morning and had breakfast on a blanket.  Then we picked some dandelions and ate them dipped in batter and deep fried the next day!  Tasted like mushrooms.  The thought entered my mind today that perhaps I too ought to  buy a little plot up there--save my survivors the trouble--beat the rush. 

2 comments:

Patti said...

What a sweet feeling of community. Graveyards I visit have none of that familiarity. I tend the grave of a friend's daughter who moved from the area many years ago. I was touched by your watering and cleansing, and know little things like that are appreciated.

Shelly said...

Will you please just write a book already.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley