A Sort of Churchyard

“Before I die, I want to change my name to “Here,” so that my tombstone could simply read, “Here lies.” And then people who knew me could walk by, shake their head, and say, “Ain’t that the truth.”
― Jarod Kintz

The church with two faces doesn’t have a proper graveyard, there are only five graves total. But the other day (during the daytime, naturally) I wandered over to take a look.

It sounds morbid but birth and death dates interest me. We don’t tend to think of ourselves as living in momentous times but when you think about it for the last couple of centuries at least no lifetime has been devoid of some really amazing breakthrough, technology, interesting world event, etc. I like to take a gander at gravestones and go through what that person must have seen in his or her lifetime. It’s a weird compulsion, I do the same thing with authors, artists, the lyricists in church hymnals – if I get a DOB and TOD I think about it.

In this particularly tiny “cemetery” (word used loosely because there was no rhyme or reason to the gravestones’ placement and they are already being reclaimed by the encroaching woods), there’s a WWI vet and a couple relatives, but the salient point is that every single person buried there was born in the 19th and died in the 20th centuries.

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Think about it. Sallie there was born one decade after the American Civil War (which, given the area we live in, I’m willing to be money she had a relative of some kind participate in) and lived to see rock’n’roll. To say nothing of the Spanish American War, two World Wars, the Korean War, both Roosevelts, the invention of the automobile, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the rise and beginning of the fall of the Jim Crow South, the death of the corset and the rise of women’s hemlines, the eruption of Krakatoa, electricity, the Titanic sinking, the Panama Canal, the development of the cinema, the ratification of five amendments to the Constitution and the repealing of one, the Great Depression, the dropping of a nuclear bomb, and goodness knows what else!

What a life! And one she probably thought was pretty small and humble. Perspective.

6 thoughts on “A Sort of Churchyard”

  1. I am so loving these little country life vignettes. Keep ’em coming.

    Also, that opening quote is one of my new all-time Small Dog favorites. Where did it come from? I could Google it, but, you know.

  2. Every time I go to visit my Dads grave I look at every grave birth and death. My husband can never understand my fascination. Now my children do it too. They try to find the oldest and then they look for tragedies such as a couple who died close to each other or who lost children. Very morbid but a taste of times when people didn’t have the medicines necessary to cure.
    Lovely post

    1. Thank you. And yes, it is a bit morbid, but a very real way to connect with times (not so long ago really) when just staying alive required a lot more effort and luck than these days. I like the idea of trying to find stories.

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