I wrote this post 7-years ago. I don’t know why, but I wanted to share it again today. Certain conversations with my dad lately reminded me of this one. I don’t think I ever shared this post on this particular blog so – yeah, you’re welcome for this one.
A walk in the local cemetery is always a source of great joy in our family.
Not really, but we can pretend.
It seems like sometime around Memorial Day every year Dad and I end up at the cemetery down the road from his house, looking at the gravestones of dear departed relatives, most of which died before either of us were born.
The trips used to be a chance for Dad to tell me about the people buried there and how I am related to them. Always interesting, but the older my dad becomes the more morbid and depressing these trips become.
I’m also suspecting that some kind of internal switch has been switched off in Dad’s head the older he becomes because on our most recent trip he decided to regale my son and I with the story of how one of our relatives departed this earth. My son is six.
“That’s cousin So-And-So. She burned up in a barn fire.”
“Um…yeah…Dad…maybe not now…” and I jerked my head toward my son whose mouth was hanging open.
My Dad didn’t catch the head jerk. He squinted his eyes at me and looked confused. “Huh? No. I said she burned up in a fire. In a barn.”
Apparently being subtle wasn’t going to work here.
“OK. I got that but maybe saying it in front of the six year old wasn’t the best move,” I said and stared at him for a bit.
“Oh. Yeah. Ok.” He shrugged and kept walking.
Before long we found some ground under two big trees, away from some other stones.
“I bought two plots here years ago,” he said walking around the spot and making gestures with his arms in the pattern of lines while he looked down. “I think it was….” He stepped over a couple of places. “Right here.”
He stood looking at the ground a few moments. I shifted nervously next to a gravestone dated 1863 and hoped he would suggest we head back home now and end this awkward moment.
“Yeah. I think it was here. Not really a lot of space. I guess they can have my feet face the roots of these trees I helped plant when I was in Boy Scouts. Then my old body can feed the tree as it decomposes.”
The next time he suggests we visit the local cemetery I am going to emphatically say “no.”