Long time readers know that from time to time, I do some restoration work around the state. Today I finally had the time, and good weather, to do a job that I bid on some time back and was able to finish in one day, so it was extra good. I have actually done work in several historic cemeteries and working in such places always causes me to reflect on so many things. This is a very old cemetery of much historical significance, very near the downtown Birmingham area. Everyone here from princes to paupers. Several Alabama governors, mayors and one very well-known madam from the early 1900's.
The fence here is what I repaired. Sorry no pics of finished work. A friend of mine who is a stone mason did the stone repair. He is actually the one who introduced me to cemetery work. This mess is the result of a car wreck; someone going too fast around the sharp curve that runs by here. Probably being chased by police. Unfortunately, these grounds are located in a very unstable part of town so you have to be aware of the situation and on the lookout for suspicious/ dangerous behavior.
We also repaired one other spot in the fence that was the result of frozen turkeys being hurled through the air at a high rate of speed. 18 lb. frozen missiles that wrecked havoc amongst the tombstones and fence area. Seems a fellow stole a transfer truck full of turkeys right before Thanksgiving in a nearby area, the police gave chase but he could not quite make the same sharp turn. The truck flipped and spewed the turkeys all over the streets and cemetery. The overseer here said he kept finding turkeys strewn about for days afterward.
The grounds are filled with beautiful, old monuments of all kinds. Saddest I guess, are the varieties of lambs that usually mark the graves of children. It is such a pretty place that often times people come just to walk or sit and relax under the enormous magnolia and oak trees that cover the grounds.
Many of the markers and mausoleums are in dire need of repair but grant money or donations by patrons are hard to come by. Many of the graves are so old, that the families have long since passed away or moved from the area, these distant relatives forgotten.
But many are in fine shape and the architecture of the structures are a fascination in that you will rarely see such craftsmanship in modern times.
I can't help but to wonder about the people, that I know I am stepping over, as I go about my work. Did they live a happy life? Did it end tragically? How will I feel about my own life when I know my time to lie here is drawing close? If, I even live long enough to think my time might be near.
I can't believe we would
Lie in our graves
Wondering if we had
Spent our living days well.
So, consider this a reminder; spend your living days well, the best you can. Hug and kiss the one next to you. Laugh at stupid things. Be silly sometimes. Forgive everyone and pray that they will forgive you. Life sucks sometimes for everyone. I learned that lesson many years ago but when it's over, and it always passes too quickly it seems, there ain't no gettin' it back.
*Dave Mathews Band