Saturday, April 08, 2006

Looking Out For the Dead

The wind blew hard last night. The weather man said it would and he was right. We went to bed late and it looked like the worst was over but sometime after midnight we both had a rude awakening when a bolt of lightening struck something hard very near our house. When we got up to check things out you could hear thunder rolling and constant lightening. One strike looked like a jagged spotlight being shown down from the heavens on a hapless tree that stood on the ridge beyond our property. Fortunately the storm moved very fast and soon it was over and the constant drone of rain set in and we fell asleep.
This morning I got up early and the humming birds were already hard at work. The sun came up unobscured by clouds and shown through our windows as if nothing had happened the night before.
I had some work to do in the morning but around lunch time Buddy (my dog) and I went down to Davis Cemetery to lend a hand in an effort to clean up the cemetery before Easter.
I guess I thought more people would be there, but either folks were busy or maybe they came early and left before I arrived because Earl Hicks and I WERE the clean up crew.
We picked up old flowers and some debris. We cut a gimpy old pine that was leaning precariously across the road and left it for the city cleanup crew to haul off.
I used a weedeater to clean the graves of my brothers and father. The sun was warm and the trees and shrubs put on a show as they do this time of year.
When I finished I sat on the tailgate with Buddy and looked over the graves of the people buried there. I'm one of the folks who never moved away so I knew many of the names written on the tombstones. I knew where they worked and what kind of car they drove. I knew their people.
As I sat there in silence a freight train slowly made its way through Old Dora and French Town on its way to points south and west. The engineer blew the horn before crossing the trestle at Singleton Road. I've heard this sound described in stories and songs as lonesome but I never really got it until today. The sound echoed off hills and hollows and it had a sad and lonely quality.
Most people work hard throughout their lives and when all is said and done the only thing left is a rock on which their name is written and the memories they leave with friends and family.
The pace of life is fast and so many things vie for your time. I consider it an honor to spend a little out for the dead.

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