June goes to cemetery; sees old boyfriend, not a stray kitten

I worked until 8:30 or 9:00 Friday night, and then I told myself, “You are going to shut down this laptop and not even look at work things all weekend.” And I didn’t. But now I have it back on again and I am willing myself to not look at work until work time, and it’s KILLING ME.

Anyway. I guess the highlight of my weekend is I went to the cemetery with my ex-boyfriend, Ned.

Ned called me recently and mentioned there was a cemetery tour of this old, you know, cemetery near our old house. Back when we were house-hunting, the very first place we looked at was magnificent. Hoity-toity neighborhood. Two stories with a long porch in the front and just a lovely backyard. Hardwood floors, french doors that smoked Gauloises, a den with bookshelves built in, and?

Ned had to think about it.

Those of you who remember the heady days of Ned are all, Yeah. Of course he did. Anyway, we lost that place. But very close by was this old cemetery, and while Ned was THINKING ABOUT IT we talked about how we could take a walk in that cemetery every day.

The house we DID get was pretty close to that cemetery too, so we still ended up taking walks in there when we weren’t screeching at each other. (Our living together did not go well.) Anyway they have formal tours there, where they tell you about important tombstones and tell you about the botany of the place, which is quite advanced. Some guy—and I shoulda paid more attention but you know how I am, but he was some rich important guy—would go in there and plant whatever he wanted. So there are all these rare trees and plants in there.

There are also tombstones falling over from the tree roots of Mr. Plant What May putting things in and not thinking it through. So.

Anyway it was a perfect day to tour a cemetery–not too hot, not too cold.

Ned paid our $10 fee and we stood, masked, around 4 or 5 people waiting for the tour to begin. At the last minute a woman ran up, and naturally she was the sister of someone Ned used to date. Ned is the Hugh Hefner of North Carolina.

Anyway she was nice, and we all had a good time learning about what things mean what on a tombstone, and how some of the really rich people have simple stones, and the difference between a crypt and a mausoleum. (Door. If it has a door, it’s a mausoleum.)

We did find one part of the cemetery we’d never noticed. You know Vick’s Vapo-Rub? It’s my favorite smell, and it was invented right here in Greensboro during the flu pandemic of 1918. The Vick’s family, who you can imagine are rolling in it, have this sectioned-off part behind a brick wall, and it’s kept up beautifully and it’s lovely.

The whole tour kind of reminded me of when I was learning to drive. My Uncle Leo, of all people—and I say that because he is something of a distracted driver—was teaching me to drive when I was 15 going on 16, so we went to a cemetery to learn. The problem is, my Uncle Leo is obsessed with history, so I’d drive maybe a foot and a half, before he’d be all, “Oh! Stop! This is the Hoodebleedee tombstone! They arrived in Saginaw in 1412, and …” and then he’d be off. He did that all morning and incidentally I did not get my license till I was 17.

And no. I did not see any cats during my cemetery tour. I kind of looked. Because I’m low on cats.

I have to go. It’s now time for me to open the work email. I did it! I didn’t look early! Am a rock. Am a tombstone. Am a death parade, as my Uncle Bill would say when he can’t think of “funeral procession.”

XO,
Jube

44 Comments

  1. Old cemeteries are really cool. I went to a few ancient ones in England and Ireland, where the names have just disappeared from moss and erosion and time. Kind of zen, that.

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  2. Soon cemeteries will be basically history too. Everyone seems to go the urn route anymore. Maybe this will be your last cemetery walk with Ned. Lucky it was a nice day if that’s the case.

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  3. The family business on my Mother’s side is gravestones – they engrave them and place them. We spent a good bit of time in cemeteries growing up, and I like wandering through them – looking at the engraving, the sayings, the different types of stones. It’s nice to visit those who’ve passed on – I like to think they appreciate it.

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  4. Fun! I live in Lexington, KY but I work in Frankfort (the state capital, for whatever reason) and close to my office is a cemetery where several famous people are buried. I used to run by Daniel Boone’s monument at lunch every day!

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  5. Good for you for your work boundaries!
    As a kid I went to a private school that scheduled lots of field trips, mainly historical. I went to many, many cemeteries as a student, and we always had plain newsprint and crayons to do stone rubbings. Then we’d have to research the person represented on the rubbing. It was an excellent form of education!
    We had gorgeous weather this weekend and had fun (safe!) things to do right here on our street.
    Lovely post, June!

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  6. GOOD FOR YOU!!! Finishing work and turning the computer off until work time this morning. Your brain just needs to rest, at least mine does, it’s like my brain gets over stuffed. Death parade. Cracked me up! A cemetery can be very interesting. I keep saying I’m going to Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, but it’s either too hot or too cold. We have a Confederate cemetery in my little town (big battle was fought here and the Yankee soldiers marched right out my road and turned south just before my house). Oh my goodness, does that sound like Scarlett?

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  7. Oh, I love a good cemetery. I can thank my Grandma for it. That woman loved cemeteries and funerals. I grew up being dragged to funerals and cemeteries. We have an old cemetery in town that is so run down and decrepit. A previous owner embezzled the endowment fund so there’s been very little maintenance done in the last decade or so. The city finally agreed to take it over this past year. My daughter and I go there and poke around the old graves and try not to fall in one of the many sunken in graves.

    I was taught how to drive by a guy who was the road manager for Neil Diamond, Van Halen and a few other groups. He’d pick me up from school and then make me drive all over. He was a very good and calm teacher and a helluva nice guy.

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  8. Cemeteries are such fun. My 2 favorites that I have visited are both above ground situations. The one in New Orleans that everyone tours, and the one in Buenos Aires where Evita is housed. That place is exquisite.

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  9. My daughter lived in Russia for a year and when we went to visit she insisted that we visit the cemetery in Moscow that has all the famous Russians. (Novodevichy). It was by far the favorite and most memorable part of an incredible trip (which included a foiled pickpocketing by a in St. Petersburg). I don’t think this is the first time Ned has suggested an outing together. I think it’s funny that it was a cemetery tour that sealed the deal. But I have to confess, I felt a little knot in my stomach when I saw his picture, but you’re a big girl. You know what your heart can handle.

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    1. When we got back from the cemetery, I offered Ned a glass of lemonade. He said no. “Why not?” I asked. “Because it’s loaded with sugar,” he said. And right then, I remembered.

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      1. If you ever go to a funeral with Ned and visit the family afterwards, you will go to a dead spread with Ned.

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  10. When I was a young child (less than 6) the house we lived in had a railroad track right behind our back yard and behind THAT was an old cemetery. Just to the left of the house was a confederate cemetery with an old cannon that I referred to as the ‘bang-bang’. Since then I’ve loved going to old cemeteries to wander.

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  11. I used to walk through the cemetery all the time when I lived on North Eugene St. It was lovely, very peaceful and especially beautiful in the spring and fall. I miss that neighborhood.

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  12. Loved this post, June. I’ve always found cemeteries to be peaceful places to visit. Your pictures are lovely.

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  13. Seattle Steve (The cemeteries around here are boring although we did have a confederate statue that was defaced) says:

    A cemetery to learn to drive. Huh. I am teaching my 15 year old to drive right now. Doing my best to not show how stressed I am sitting in the passenger seat.

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    1. Oh yes, cemeteries are excellent places to learn to drive! Lots of turns, narrow roads and a good place to learn navigation – get lost and find your way out again.

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  14. Our little country church was formed before the revolutionary war. “New” building built before the Civil War. Was sacked by Sherman who stole the altar pieces and chandelier ,but didn’t burn it down. Revolutionary and Civil war soldiers buried in the cemetery directly across from the front door. The church sits way back from the road in a wooded area. It’s beautiful and I feel so blessed to go to church there. There is a old stone wall around the cemetery with wrought iron fences. We like the cemetery almost more than the church.

    Death parade and dead spread. I’m going to see if my husband, the pastor, can use those terms in his next funeral service.

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  15. I really want to take that tour to see all the plants and trees that are unusual. Did Ned say how Sydney was?

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  16. Dead spread and Death Parade (Second Line in New Orleans). These are New to me. This post is a death hat’s delight. Thanks, Pretty Joon. Nice to see you and Ned being friends.

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  17. I have my books
    And my poetry to protect me
    I am shielded in my armor
    Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
    I touch no one and no one touches me

    I am a rock
    I am an island

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  18. What a gorgeous day for a cemetery tour. This picture reminds me of the lovely cemetery where my grandparents are buried. My two other favorite cemeteries are the historic Oakland cemetery in Atlanta and the Bonaventure cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.

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  19. If you die in New Orleans, or the Caribbean, you really do get a death parade.

    I run in our cemetery regularly. Quite peaceful and they always keep the roads plowed in the winter. I have found a bunch of really interesting Hoobledeedees – like a Confederate soldier! Plus we have a bunch of my husband’s relatives in there who I can wave to as I jog by.

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  20. My daughter manages a catering place and the reception after a funeral is referred to as the “dead spread.” It’s not listed as such on their menu, but among the employees, that’s what they call it.

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  21. Lovely post Coot. I am proud 9f you for not doing work things. I tell my Kahuna if you don’t set work boundaries then you will work all the time.
    I one time had a boss who would call me at all hours. He one time called me at 2 am to remind me to do something. I decided to repay the favor and he told me not to call him at home. I said I won’t if you won’t. He stopped for like 3 days then was at it again. That job was restful.
    I love cemeteries. My cousin and I went on ancestor search a couple of years ago. We found our great great grandparents headstones and funny enough they were less than 50 miles from where we live.

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  22. You had me at “french doors that smoked Gauloises.”

    I wonder how long Ned had to think about it before he invited you.

    I use Death Parade routinely now. Sometimes it means funeral procession. Sometimes it means me, marching into the house to find out who left the bag of trash in the garage instead of taking it all the way to the… you know… TRASH CAN.

    Lovely post June!

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