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Cemetery Bargains

John W. Pinkerton


I was dozing in my easy chair the other day when I was awakened by my wife, Linda, as she was about to depart our home headed to the cemetery.

She told me she was meeting a lady, an old friend, at the local cemetery to look at some gravesites that were for sale.  Being a funny old fellow, I gravely told her not to lie down on the spots to see if they are comfortable.  Of course she laughed.

Although Linda has served on the local cemetery committee for years, death is just about her least favorite subject.  Speaking of the cemetery committee, it normally only has one regular meeting each year.  One of their years a few years ago was a doozy: it seems that a family finally after years realized that one of their loved ones was buried in the wrong spot.  Diplomacy and a little financial compensation smoothed this debacle over.  Back to once a year.  If bought from the association, a plot is currently demanding 500 dollars.  Linda, being a bargain hunter, saw the opportunity to save a little money by purchasing the plots offered on Facebook.

A lot of folks are buried on the plot of land designated as the Somerville Cemetery.  The markers go back to the early 1900's.  It seems that the older the grave site is the more elaborate the headstones are.  I don’t know what this tells us.  However, folks move on and  usually choose to be buried where they've established homes.  Some folks choose to be buried here even without any past relation to the community because the cost is so much less than many more sophisticated locations.

I'm warming to the idea of being a landowner.  Of course, we presently own our home and property---long ago paid in full, but having a two plot ranch on the edge of town kind of appeals to me.  It reminds me of my six-pack of cattle I once owned…yeah, I was a rancher.  My only involvement in my herd was providing a friend the money to purchase the six-pack and wait for the return on their sale.  I made a couple of bucks and retired from ranching.  I didn't want to purchase chaps.

I can't think of cemeteries without thinking of Our Town, Thornton Wilder's three act play about the residents of a small town, Grover's Corner.  The stage is minimalist with the narrator providing most of the setting.  This reminds me a little of my adopted hometown, Somerville.  There's not much here, but what is is necessary.

Of course, Grover's Corner has a cemetery which is introduced in the third act.  From the cemetery, past residents of the village can observe the living if they choose.  Most find it too painful to continue to watch the living who don't seem to fully appreciate life.

Anyway, it's a great play, a thoughtful play, a play that anyone from a small town can relate.

After about an hour, Linda returned home from the cemetery complaining of the cold wind.  Having noticed that some plots had small concrete borders on them,  she had asked her friend if that was a good idea.  She was noncommittal with, “It's an option.”  Upon hearing of this, and taking into account the current political climate, I suggested a wall.  She giggled.  She's an easy audience.