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Monday, July 11, 2016

A story from a small town

Fewer than seven hundred people live in my township.
Fewer than seven hundred additional people live in the village in my township.
As I've mentioned, most go back six generations.
This is not a good thing, although they do not recognize inbreeding.
Feuds go back generations.

This is the mausoleum in one of the cemeteries.
Technically, a mausoleum houses crypts.
This mausoleum, built in 1876 from locally quarried sandstone, was cold storage for folks who died in the winter and needed housing until the ground thawed in spring.

The mausoleum has nothing to do with the story, but it's a neat little Gothic structure.
All around it you can see the tips of trees browned off by the cicadas, and now falling to the ground.
They litter the cemetery.


This town is celebrates Memorial Day big and proper, with parades to the cemeteries and speeches commemorating the more than few service men resting in these grounds. There are Revolutionary War veterans in the oldest cemetery.

The people who manage the cemeteries get a little cranky in the lead up to Memorial Day festivities. It's done the same way every year, and with the same measure of crankiness.

Laura had time on her hands, so I asked one of the organizers if she could help.
She was assigned the weeding of one of the memorial gardens.
The next day I was asked if she could water the plants.

So, every day I go to work, I drop her at the cemetery, she finds the watering can, which seems to wander from grave to grave, pumps the pump, fills the can and makes her rounds.


My friend Nina, a town stalwart, mentioned seeing Laura in the cemetery.
I explained I volunteered her.
"But, there are sextons!" Nina said.

I explained, as the harried official told me in May, they do not want to water, too.
Well, Nina will see about that.



I'll still send Laura to water, It's good for her.

34 comments:

  1. You are teaching your sweet grand girl a valuable lesson. She will have a story to tell in years to come.

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  2. love that mausoleum; great volunteer work for Laura and she gets to be in nature and listen to forgotten elders speaking silently; good luck with your house sale

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  3. Hari OM
    hmmmmmmm I know sextons as being bell-ringers and grave-diggers... plot waterers and weederers, not so much. Laura is needed and to be needed is a grand thing. Don't let them 'un-need' her! YAM xx

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    1. The sextons are charged with the maintenance of the grounds. It's a husband and wife team. She uses the riding mower, he the push mower. They are mortal enemies of the woman who voluntarily plants the flowers to make the grounds look nice, and expects them to be watered as part of the grounds keeping duties. Except for volunteering Laura to tend the watering can, I keep out of it. Small towns.

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  4. You are such a fabulous story teller.... You say things I think and mull over... but the words I use just don't tell it the same way. I love it that Laura is learning from you... not just watering much needed plants at gravesites, but she's learning even more important values.... you, Joanne, are a real treasure!

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    1. For a while she was watering some plastic arrangements, until she figured them out. I noticed she stops and makes small repairs to arrangements that are looking shopworn. She's a little obsessive, and disorder "annoys" her.

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  5. I am always surprised that your country doesnt have villages
    A village is a small, ( very small) town
    Trelawnyd is a village of 300 souls

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  6. You are indeed a great story teller, Joanne. I cannot imagine a town with fewer than 700 people, but this is probably because I was born and have lived in Montreal all my life, where there are 3.5 million people! The mausoleum is lovely!

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  7. Such a thought provoking post.
    Yay for volunteering. And awesome grandmothers.
    And I cannot (in this hot land) get my head around the difficulties of burying the dead because the ground is frozen.

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  8. At least you have water available, it sounds. My husband is buried in Moore's Chapel Cemetery and I have to bring my own water in for the plants there.
    And good for your granddaughter! And good for you!

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  9. Joanne, less than 700 people? I've never lived in a small town and can't imagine.
    Sometimes I think it would be nice... especially as you age. I like the Gothic structure. And I like the personal side of Laura taking care of the cemetery.

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  10. The mausoleum is in excellent condition. It is a beautiful building. It is also a lovely cemetery.

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  11. I'll bet it is peaceful, in a way. Speaking of graves and veterans, I saw a post on Facebook recently about coins on graves and what they mean. Maybe you've already heard this, but I guess It's a way for someone to pay their respects without going to the family directly. A penny is left by someone that didn't serve, a nickel by someone who might have gone through boot camp with them, a dime by someone who served in the same platoon and a quarter by someone in the same unit. I think. It's something along those lines. It's sweet and respectful and I'm going to start carrying more pennies around.

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  12. I wouldn't mind that job myself!! Very peaceful place to water!

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  13. You and the grands never cease to amaze me Joanne.

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  14. Hi Joanne,
    I hope you are well. I look you up every now and then, even if I am not too good at commenting.
    That must be quite a job doing all this watering by hand. We also water with cans here but it is a small garden. I fixed the eaves-troughs so they fill up a cattle watering troughs. It is faster to fill up the cans than at a faucet.
    The closest village has about 700 people but the old families are now a minority (which is a good thing).

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  15. Its a very pretty cemetery with a lot of history.

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  16. Less than 700 people? That's practically a family reunion.

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  17. I think I would enjoy that type of volunteering. I would enjoy reading the grave markers. Good venture for Laura to do.

    Betty

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  18. Interesting volunteer work. I hope I don't become too cranky. Some days I seem to notice cranky creep.

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  19. Wow! 700 is a lot of people. John's Trelwanyd is relatively big for North Wales at "300 souls". I believe there are only 25,000 people living in the whole of Snowdonia National Park. Mind you, we have a lot of sheep.

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  20. Flowering plants and grass are the only living items in a cemetery. Such a pity about the plastic flowers for after a while they look so shoddy.

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  21. I envy you this sense of place.

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  22. That's a very caring thing for Laura to do.

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  23. It is such a beautiful cemetery. I am glad your granddaughter is helping out.

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  24. it's good for Laura to have stuff to do...idle ands and all that. besides, nurturing nature benefits us all, especially the nurturer.

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  25. Beautiful!
    I think that we should always walk along cemeteries so that we never forget where we're going to live in the future. It's important to demystify death.

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  26. I'm pretty sure the sextons are thrilled that Laura is watering. And good of Laura to do it. And good FOR her, too, as you said. You are a smart lady.

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  27. I wouldn't like to live anywhere the ground freezes too hard to bury the dead, that level of cold is just too much.
    It is a pretty little mausoleum though.
    Must be an interesting job for Laura, watering the flowers and reading the headstones.

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  28. I like cemetaries. Nobody is arguing.

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    1. Wait... You might be in for a surprise, Tom.

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  29. Joanne, PLEASE tell us that you got your TV problem straightened out! Tuesday came and went........
    Thanks.

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  30. I love that sound attitude of yours, Joanne. And watering plants - wherever - is a contemplative act.

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