Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 187 - Boiled Eggs and The Cemetery

As I traveled to another cemetery to visit with my Mom's Father, my maternal Grandpa, a WWII veteran, I thought to myself.  I feel so foreign in a cemetery.  I have never been to one and its not like going to the movies.  You don't take things to eat, you don't converse, and that deafening silence.  Its  reverence of respect of the forefathers that have gone before you.  My mom and my Aunt came with me and I dusted off the marker.  We joked about Grandma leaving off her first name given to her by her mother. Thelma June Heichel, yet her marker read just June Heichel.  My Aunt Cindy said, "You better not put my first name on my marker either. I just want it to read Cindy Heichel, this is my last move, I promise!"  Cindy's first name is Creola and like her mother, she didn't like her first name given to her by her mother either.  She moved alot so this was her joke.  We laughed.

Mom wanted to bring a boiled egg.  I thought, WHY?  Grandpa can't eat it?  He's dead for God's sake.  But Grandpa loved boiled eggs so this was her connection as was my day lily of the preceding days with my paternal Grandmother.

I thought of the time I had given my young husband a boiled egg in his packed dinner when he worked night shift.  He took it with him to work and commented on how he couldn't let anyone see it as it still had the Easter coloring on it.  The next week there was this awful smell and nobody could figure out what it was in the lunch room.  He had evidently hidden it in the cupboard so that nobody knew he had it and had forgotten about it!  He never did confess that it was his.  So I thought if we had brought and left the egg, would an animal come by and eat it? Or would it rot in the hot sun and leave a mess and a smell for the next person that visited to clean up?  Truth was, nobody comes to visit but my mother.  My Aunt didn't know the location of the grave until this day.

Why is it that people don't take care of their forefather's graves?  I understand moving so far away that it isn't feasible, but doing the right thing, the people that DO live close, should do this.  Put flowers out, clean off the dirt, plant flowers or just plain visit.  It does more for the living souls than the dead in the ground.  It shows a sense of connection, of grief, of respect.  If these traditions are passed down, then the children of our children will not have to search for answers.

We then went to the house on the hill and my mother had warned me that the log cabin had fallen down and the place just wasn't the same.  We drove up and Grandpa's dog pen was filled with young ring-necked pheasants.  The stream was completely dry and a pond had been made half way down the hill.  I wondered if the water had been rerouted.  That meant the waterfall was gone, what a pity.   The new owner is a lawyer and nobody was home.  I stepped up the stairs to look through the kitchen window and as I peered in the window in the front of the A-frame I saw a bed post of a bed that was sitting in what was the Grandpa's living room.  The sun reflected off the glass, so I put my hand up to my forehead and leaned in to see the kitchen.  An eye stared back at me!  A nine-point buck had been mounted along with another deer on the right wall.  The kitchen sink and cupboards completely gutted.

That is how I felt, completely gutted.  Like being robbed of my memories of sweet childhood dreams and chasing fireflies down the hill at night.  Falling and sometimes ending up rolling from the top to the bottom on our sides and slowly rolling to the right of left so that we ended up head down toward the bottom of the hill and we stopped rolling.  Our bodies couldn't roll head to toe.  I felt cheated out of tradition and seeing that things change if they are not cared for by the family that enjoyed them when they were small.

I decided not to take any photos as the prints in my mind were much better.  The smell was hot and humid and I wondered if Grandpa had left a boiled egg in the room that was once a kitchen for the deer mounted on the it would have been rotten now, symbolic of the condition of the place that was once a palace for all his grandchildren.

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