Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday, July 21, 2019

 Today was Memorial at Bourland Cemetery. What that means for y'all what ain't got enough culture to understand is in some small rural communities - like the one I was raised & now currently live in - not every church has a cemetery attached to it & not every cemetery is attached to a church. That's what Bourland is. It's about two, two-&-a-half acre cemetery about a mile-&-a-half from the house where most of my mother's family that's in a cemetery is buried. Both Momma's parents, my father, my uncles & aunts that have gone on, in-laws & extended family. If I recall, the oldest readable grave goes back to the 1840s. I have a space there Momma will put what's left of me - I've told her to donate what can be donated - in a nice, shady spot right next to my folks.

 What Memorial is, once a year people with family in the cemetery gather for a preaching &, as often as not, what's called "dinner on the ground". Everyone brings a dish or some sweet tea or maybe some fried chicken, & they eat. They also raise money for the upkeep of the cemetery, & there's a couple old, old cemeteries nearby that no one takes care of.

 In some places it's called Decoration Day, & my friends the Drive-By Truckers put out an excellent song by that title on the 2003 self-titled album. It was also an early name for Memorial Day, particularly geared towards Confederate dead, but this has nothing to do with any of that.

  I didn't go. Partly I didn't go because I don't do crowds, partly I didn't go because I don't do preaching, partly I didn't go because it was too goddamn hot, but mainly I didn't go because I'd simply rather stay home & commune with the front yard. Two hours' guaranteed solitude a week, damn if I'm going to pass that up. So, I went earlier this morning & talked to Daddy, & Mommaw, & Uncle Charles & Aunt Shirley & all the rest, pondered my own mortality, helped the kids taking donations help an older gentleman set up some chairs & a table, & went on back home.

 I find cemeteries melancholy, which I guess most people do, but there's a certain comfort to this place. I'm a stone-cold materialist & hold no truck with any sort of concept of "soul", much less the transmigration thereof, but I must admit it is nice to know I'll have a pleasant, shady spot werein to do my decomposing once the time comes. Not everyone can say that, & it is something.