Friday, May 16, 2014


Decoration Day is only a few weeks away so I spent the morning working there. I'd promoted cleanup
day on Facebook, but when I got there this morning, it was a work party of one.
There's a lot to be done, but I didn't mind working alone. A cool front moved through after the rain moved out and today was as close to perfection as you can get. A gentle breeze out of the west made even strenuous work practically perspiration free. The sky was as blue as a photograph with wisps of clouds as white as aspirin-bottle cotton.
The only person that showed up was my old friend Gene Gravlee. He's a local historian, and I got an opportunity to video him talking about historical points of interest in the cemetery.
The cemetery has one veteran of the Spanish American War,  several men who fought in the War Between The States, WWI and WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
It's where my people are many great grandfathers that it would sound as if I were stuttering.
After the history lessons (and videos) Gene and I found a place in the shade and we sat on headstones and talked about the future.
I've often wondered what will happened to the old cemeteries when my generations dies. These days most cemeteries are perpetual care and are as well kept as most golf courses.
But the old cemeteries where long-dead families put up clay-brick borders, and planted small trees at the headstones to provide an eternal shade for their loved ones, are another matter.
It's hard to maintain these cemeteries. The small trees planted 50 years ago are now 90 feet tall. Cutting around those quaint borders takes countless hours of manual labor.
I don't consider this work. To me, it's like therapy. I talk to the headstones and wish they could somehow tell the life story of those buried there. So many remarkable stories have been lost because there was no one there to listen.
Today I had a chance to record Gene telling several of these stories and tonight all I can say is that I'm glad I was there to capture his words.


  1. I do like this entry and it's message. Yes, there is a concern amongst seniors. Many see no need in care, especially once the cemetery is 'full', let it fend for itself. Others grieve at times past.
    It is commendable to take the interest.

    On working alone, being deaf, I enjoy working alone. (smile)

  2. Near where my parents live there is a very old cemetery that it overtaken with brush and weeds. Some of the dates on it are from the 1800s. It's so sad that it's forgotten about. Makes me wonder if any of their families even know they have ancestors there.

  3. I walk around two old cemeteries almost every day on my walk.

    The 'real' decoration day is May 30 - my birthday. : )

  4. Sure wish I lived closer..Jack and I would come out and help! We have a beautiful old cemetery here that is very well taken care of by the city and citizens that have family there. Every May there is an event where people dress up as former Ashlanders and tell their life story while standing at their grave site. It's really a great way to learn about the early settlers of this county. I did a blog post about it a few years ago. I'll have to do it again this year! Glad your weather has snowed up in Cleveland the other day! First the tornado, then the snownado! Ha!

  5. I worry too. Many of our local Scout troops have taken on the task of rehabbing and caring for old cemeteries over the years, but there are fewer and fewer adults willing to serve as leaders and therefore the Scouts are fading away as well...

  6. It's sad but a lot of history is buried deep within the earth and no one hears the stories anymore that once was told by the old folks. What makes me angry is that some gravestones are damaged through vandal.

  7. Great story here as well...well done!


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