Playing Among the Headstones


Sometimes we are fortunate enough to look past what lies on the surface and find pleasure in unexpected places.  Before our children started school, we decided it would be best if I put off working until they started school.  Most days, the children and I were home.  I rambled the lanes around our rural home were on foot pulling the little ones in a red wagon behind me.

We frequently strolled to a lovely old pre-Civil War cemetery with off a gravel road near our home..  The children were fascinated by the tall, graceful tombstones and loved running between them, seeking out their favorites with angels, little lambs, ornate curlicues, or crypts enclosed within wrought-iron fences.

In their exuberant innocence, they played happily in the deep shade under the ancient oaks, having no knowledge of death or its connection to their favorite destination.  Sometimes they sat in the sand of the unpaved tracks, playing with their trucks or other small toys.  To them, it was no more than a park.  As often as not, I spread a blanket on the grass for them to picnic on peanut butter and jam sandwiches, milk and cookies.

Later, they’d stretch out on the blanket while I read to them, sometimes drifting off for their naps.  Late in the afternoon, We’d walk home in the long shadows as they searched for little treasures of pretty stones, colorful bird feathers, or bright flowers or toss small stones from their vantage point on a small wooden bridge into the clear creek below.

I cherish the memory of those lovely afternoons and hope that the souls resting beneath that cool green carpet of grass enjoyed the laughter of children playing and the time we shared with them.

Cousin Kathleen and the Groundhog

imageThis is the time of year we’d visit Cousin Kathleen, a tiny, self-sufficient, little mountain woman.  The first time Bud and I went to visit at her little house clinging to the side of a mountain in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Moutains we were lingering over coffee at the breakfast table overlooking her garden when she spotted a fat groundhog eating her tomatoes.  Without a word, she jumped up, grabbed a 357 pistol off the top of her refrigerator and flew out the back door firing a shot.  The ground hog escaped, but she blew the tomato plant away!  She was quite disappointed, since she’d been planning to eat him.  Later that morning, we caught a couple of trout in Little Wilson Creek, Just down from her house.  Bud usually practiced catch and release, but she was outraged at the thought.  Rushing us home, by ten- thirty she had cooked and trout eaten them all herself, horrified to think they might have been wasting their afternoon back in the creek.

That afternoon, we had to go see the cemetery.  Cousin Kathleen proudly confided she “ran” the cemetery.  Not sure what that meant, I had to ask.

“I am in charge of the man who mows.  I keep up with the money.  I decide where folks get plots.  I am the one to call in case of emergencies.”

I wanted to ask what kind of emergencies cemeteries might have, except for the rapture, of course, but kept my mouth shut.

One morning, Cousin Kathleen took us out to see the countryside.  Deep in the hills, she had Bud whip into a drive.  “I used to work with the woman who lives here.  Come on.  I want you to meet her.”  Uncomfortable at dropping in on unknown mountaineers, we dragged a little getting out.  A man in overalls sat on the porch.

“Where’s Molly?  I sed to work with her.”  Cousin Kathleen greeted him.

“Molly’s gone.”

Clearly anxious to see her friend, Cousin Kathleen demanded, “Gone where?  When will she be back?”

“She’s dead.  She ain’t gonna be back.”

“Oh well, see you later, then.”  She scurried back to the car with us right her.  “Well, I sure never heard she was dead!”  I kind of thought she hadn’t by that time.

We went fishing that afternnoon.  For dinner that night, we had fresh-caught trout, green beans and potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers fresh from the garden.  For dessert, we had fresh rhubarb cobbler.  What a wonderful dinner and day of memories!






I’m Cold, I’m Cold (Joke)

Two old friends were spending their evening idling their time away, drinking in the graveyard, as they were fond of doing.

One of them drifted off to sleep as the other stumbled and fell into an open grave.  All was well for a while till the fellow in the grave sobered up a little and called out to his sleeping friend above.  Continue reading

Take a Break?

AppreciationThis is what I got when I went over to pick up illustrations for my post.  Mother is getting a little difficult.  I’d been gone for several days.  Surely, should could have found a little time for a break while I was gone.  Seriously, we have some great times together.

Mother in her yard

Here she is relaxing on the patio she built herself.  Did I mention she’s past eighty?

In the picture below she is checking out real estate in a cemetery.  She likes to be prepared and wanted to know if it would be comfortable.  Did you notice the fanny pack? She thinks she “can take it with her.”  I told her it would all just get burned up!

Mother checking out realestate