Thursday, January 22, 2009
I don't wanna fuss.
Some friends and I were talking this morning and one mentioned that he passes a cemetery every morning by the interstate. The interstate has gradually grown wider over the years and now one of the headstones is falling into the culvert. He commented on how your eternal resting spot should not be that way.
This prompted me to think about my own relationship with graveyards.
hmmmm.... that was a weird sentence.
Anyway.. I grew up with a large graveyard literally right in my back yard. The cemetery never seemed weird or scary to me. It was like having a huge back yard with a bike track.
We played kickball in "the field" where they had not yet started using plots. There were streets to ride our bikes on that were devoid of traffic. There was even a great hill to sled on when it snowed. They always kept the grass cut and it was nicely decorated! Who could ask for more?
My mom and dad often said we had the best neighbors. They never bothered us! I wish I could say the same for our living neighbors!
When we were a little older, the weather was nice and it wasn't a school night, we'd play spotlight. More than once we were run out of the cemetery by either the security guard or the cops. We'd also dare each other to climb into the freshly dug open graves. Now I never did this. Not that I'm chicken! I just have never had any upper body strength and I can't imagine trying to get back out if one of the ornery neighborhood boys wouldn't help me out. Oh man,, the trouble we'd be in!
There was a more sinister side though. There was a man who worked in the cemetery that we all knew. He was not a horribly creepy person to us children but we still got a "bad vibe" from him and tried our best to stay away from him. As far as I know, all but one of us (a boy on our street) was successful.
There was a strip of wooded area between the interstate and the graveyard that we called "Terrabithia". This was named after the book but LONG before the movie! One day we were exploring these woods when we came across an overturned trailer. It was the type that a construction worker might pull behind his truck. This wasn't an odd sight. There was lots of construction junk dumped in this area. But this one drew us to it. There were weeds all around it except for a beaten down path right to the door.
We looked at each other.
"Dare you to go in!"
"I'm not going,, you go!"
"Not me, you're older!"
"You do it,, I can run faster to get help if something gets you!"
Well, if we had only known how close we had come.
We decided to retreat a bit from our position and throw rocks at it from a concealed location. Nothing came out. No rabid dogs. No snakes. No hobos.
Over the next few days we ventured closer and closer to the trailer. When we finally went in we found that it had been frequented not by animals but by SOMEONE. There were blankets and candles and lots and lots and lots of pornography. At the time, this amazed us but it did not interest us. I wish I could recall how old we were but I would say we were about 12. We knew what we'd found was wrong so we gathered it up and flung it into the River. We also knew that whoever it belonged to would be mad so we staked the place out. Partly to see what kind of person would look at dirty pictures in the woods and partly because we wanted to see him get mad!
It wasn't long until we found out who the trailer trash was. It was The Man. The same man that the little neighbor boy did not escape from that day. Bad things happened to him. As far as I know, he never told anyone except us kids. He and I had both been chased by The Man that day when the bad things happened. I ran like the wind and didn't look back, he wasn't as lucky. I didn't know he wasn't right behind me.
Not long after that, a very scary thing started to happen. Not minutes from my house, women were getting raped. This was the first time I'd ever heard that word. Some of the details make me shiver to this day. I seem to remember that the man hid under the women's cars late at night when he knew they would be getting off of work. It still makes me tense up to walk alone to my car at night and I always try to see the underside of the car from afar.
The Man was convicted of these crimes. He spent 5 years in prison and was later released because of faulty DNA evidence. I cannot say if he did it or not. I do know that the place where the crimes were committed was only seconds from where we saw what we saw. We knew his character.
So, I don't want to be buried in a graveyard. I'd like to be cremated please. I don't want to waste any more space on this planet when my soul has moved on. I've an interesting relationship with cemeteries. On the one hand I have lots of great memories but on the other hand I think the greatest evil I have ever known lurked there.
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