Monday, June 2, 2008

In which I visit a churchyard

Captain Andrew Drake (1684-1743) sandstone tombstone from the Stelton Baptist Church Cemetery in Edison, New JerseyImage via WikipediaMy church hosts a weekly book club. Tonight, my bus was running late, so instead of going home after work, I went right to the church, arriving a good ten minutes early.

I decided to kill time (so to speak) by wandering around the churchyard. I set the alarm on my phone for five minutes from the current time, then wandered off, figuring when the alarm went off I would turn around and come back.

And I wandered. I went to grade school at that church for three years, and it was not unusual for us to explore the churchyard on nice days. I know a lot of these stones. If I didn't come back for 10 years, I could still tell you exactly where Fr. L's dog is buried -- and I was recently delighted to find out Lucky had been given a proper grave marker.

As I walked past one older section, I noticed, among the worn gravestones, a grave whose marker had gone missing. There was only a stone platform there for the headstone to rest on. The grave itself was sunken, a sure sign of age, for it meant both that the casket had collapsed and that there was no vault.

I stepped over it, scanning the lawn for a decent rock or stone -- a Jewish tradition, hardly Episcopalian, but it only seemed right that this grave be marked, with some acknowledgment that someone had visited.

I searched, my foot lowering into the slight dip in the lawn, when I was hit with a startling jolt.

My phone's alarm, which had been set to vibrate, went off, scaring the heck out of me.

The good
I could make a decent ghost story out of this, with the right twists, couldn't I? Also, remind me to find a nice stone... I never did pay my respects.

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