#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Spooky Cemetery, Playing The Hand You’re Dealt

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos– and a bit of almost forgotten history.

I took these photos at Evergreen Cemetery in Miamiville, OH. It’s a small well-tended cemetery that is typical of township cemeteries throughout Ohio.  

What is not typical in this cemetery is one particular tombstone [2 photos below] that you can see from the road as you drive by.  

Here are some pics of what I saw at this cemetery on an unexpectedly foggy October morning. The whole place looked so spooky cool– just perfect for my adventure.

~ • ~

DOORS on stone building erected 1870.

~ • ~

Typical old tombstones from 1800s.

~ • ~

Typical older monument with girl looking skyward.

~ • ~

DOORS on monument in newer part of cemetery.

~ • ~

Tombstone of Charlie Henry Rich, the man who in 1867 dealt the infamous “Aces and Eights” [Dead Man’s Hand] to Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, S.D.

~ • ~

Back of Charlie Henry Rich’s tombstone that is equally not as typical as the front.

~ • ~

DOOR on cemetery maintenance building built in 1983.

~ ~ • ~ ~

Be The Light: Of Ladybugs, Love & A Clever Little Girl

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of April, I have a story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

* * *

THE NEWS STORY:  

Did you know that in the Jewish religion when visiting a loved one’s grave it’s customary to leave a stone on the grave?  These stones are called visitation stones.

I wasn’t aware of this tradition until I read about a girl who took it upon herself, in response to cemetery vandalism, to create some pretty hand-painted lady bug and heart visitation stones.

The complete story [found here with video] tells of 6-year-old Ayel’s response upon learning that vandals had damaged her great-great-great-grandmother’s tombstone in a St. Louis cemetery.  Ayel decided to paint some stones for herself, and for all the other families who had experienced this vandalism, as a way of showing kindness to the living– and respect to the deceased.

* * *

* * *

MY COMMENTARY:

If you took the time to watch the video, then you’ve already realized that Ayel is cuter than the bee’s knees.  I mean, how could you not love her?

That smile!

But beyond that fact I like this kid’s spirit.  She understands what happened in the cemetery and that it was a lousy thing for anyone to do.  However, instead of ignoring what happened or giving in to helplessness, she’s opted for kindness.

Ayel intuitively gets what many adults have forgotten.  She understands that creating something healing and meaningful doesn’t have to be complicated.  It just has to come from the heart.

Which, as anyone with even just an ounce of kindness in their soul knows, is a great place to start.

* * *

A Mid-Winter Walk Through A Remarkable Cemetery

DSCN4649

On Sunday afternoon there was no snow around, so Zen-Den & I decided to go to Spring Grove Cemetery to see what it looked like in the weak winter light.  [And yes, it’s the place where I got thrown off the Segway last fall.]

DSCN4652

DSCN4610

Spring Grove Cemetery, established in 1845, is one of five National Historic Landmark cemeteries in the USA.  There are people buried there who were born in the 1700s as well as born last week.

DSCN4600

The cemetery is a fascinating place that lends itself to going for a long healthy walk or, if you prefer, a casual ramble.  It’s huge: 733 hilly acres, with 15 lakes and 44 miles of roadway.  We wandered around on foot for about 2 hours.

DSCN4581

DSCN4657

No matter what time of year I’ve been to Spring Grove Cemetery, I’ve found something unique, inspiring and/or downright trippy to photograph.  In my opinion, it’s worth the time and effort it takes to get there, if history, architecture and contemplation interest you.

DSCN4618

Of Cemeteries, Segways & Common Sense

A friend convinced me that it would be a great idea for us to rent Segways and then move through a large cemetery known for its unique tombstones and mausoleums.  

We’d be doing this at sunset on an evening when the cemetery closed all the roads to car traffic and encouraged visitors to walk, run, bike, move through the roads.

I hesitated because I’d never ridden on a Segway, but I loved the idea of seeing this cemetery, known for its history, on a more personal level.  So I said “yes.”  

At first I doubted whether I’d be able to master a Segway, but I did.  Sort of.  Or at least I did enough to be allowed by the rental company to go move around a cemetery without car traffic.  

• • •

If you’ve not been on a Segway, there are 3 things I learned:

1)  You have to stand completely still on the device, with your feet locked into a perfectly aligned specific place, or you’ll cause the gyroscopes to reposition you.  This means that if you do shift your feet at all, the Segway wiggles underneath you.  Uncontrollably.

SO DON’T MOVE YOUR FEET, EVEN ONCE, WHILE ON IT.

2)  Going up hills on a Segway is easy to do because all you do is lean forward.  [MSNBC would approve.]  Going down hills is more difficult because you have to lean back while never moving your feet, yet while softening your knees, so that the impact of any hole in the road doesn’t cause you trouble.

THIS IS NOT AS SIMPLE TO DO AS THE INSTRUCTORS SUGGEST THAT IT IS.

3)  Turning a Segway is an unnatural skill that is nothing like driving a car or maneuvering a bicycle.  While I was able to easily do it in large movements, such as turning right or left at a 4-way intersection, it was difficult to do on a smaller scale, such as wandering over to look a specific object.  In fact, at one point the machine stopped responding to me altogether and took over steering so that I was thrown from it.

YES, I WAS THROWN OFF OF A SEGWAY ONTO THE GROUND BECAUSE IT INSISTED THAT WE WERE GOING TO THE RIGHT WHEN I TOLD IT TO GO TO THE LEFT.

• • •

So did I have a good time on our adventure through the cemetery?  Well, to be honest, not really.  

I mean I enjoyed spending time with my friend and we did cover a lot of ground in the cemetery, but we weren’t able to see any tombstones or mausoleums up-close because once on a Segway you’re stuck there. 

And because it doesn’t go onto grassy areas many of the monuments we wanted to explore were way too far away to get to, let alone photograph.  So the whole adventure seemed pointless to us.

Common sense suggests to me that I wouldn’t rent one again unless (maybe) it was part of a guided tour on paved paths (perhaps in a well manicured city park?) that were far away from car traffic.  And even then, I might just pass on the whole Segway thing and go for a walk by myself.

It really wasn’t much fun at all.  Not recommended. 

A City Girl’s Random Musings On Goats

::  This morning when I read this article about the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., using goats to clear a field of poisonous weeds, I knew that it was going to be a good day.  Is this the best idea ever?

Probably yes.

::  Thinking about goats reminded me of a wonderful graduation party that we went to earlier this summer.  The graduation girl was a graduate of a rural high school, so the party was at her parents’ house out in the country.

Many of the guests were farmers and at one point the conversation turned to goats.  Show goats, to be exact.  [Did you even know there was such a thing?  I didn’t.]

Come to find out, 4-H kids raise and groom certain goats with the right disposition and the right looks to be show goats.  These goats are somewhat pampered as I understand it.  Loved by one and all.  Winners of ribbons.  Indulged.  And kept around the farm as pets, not livestock.

An important distinction when you are an animal on a farm.

::  I have a goat necklace from Switzerland.  Really.  I’ve always liked goats.  So when I was a girl in high school my aunt and uncle sent me a silver goat necklace purchased while vacationing in Europe.  I don’t know where that necklace is now, but I’m sure that it’s around the house somewhere.

Misplaced, but not forgotten.

::  Not too far from here is a dairy that has cows as well as a few goats.  Beside the goat barn is a machine that for 25¢ dispenses goat chow.  [Yes, just like cat chow or monkey chow or dog chow.]  One of my favorite things to do in life is to buy a handful of goat chow and feed the goats.  Their little goat lips tickle the palm of your hand as they nibble.  And they are always appreciative of what you have to offer them to eat.

So fun, so cute.

Hello Summer

::  We had a fun holiday weekend with three days of sunshine in a row.  This is something that hasn’t happened around here in six months.  ‘Twas wonderful.

::  We went to a high school graduation party that was held at a cabin on a family farm.  To get to the party we drove out-of-town into the countryside to a small road lined on both sides with cow pastures.  From there our directions told us to look for the balloons and turn right.  We did as instructed, driving on a rough path down the middle of a cow pasture, over a small hill, and arriving at a lovely party totally hidden from view when on the road.  It was nice to be outside in a relaxed atmosphere– watching kids play games, talking to other guests, drinking beer, having fun.

::  We decided to go to the cemetery to see the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall.  It was interesting and well-planned.  The scale of the wall is smaller than the original, but it still manages to re-create some of the original’s ambiance. If nothing else, this exhibit gives an inkling of how amazing the real wall is– and perhaps encourages those who have never visited Washington, D. C., to do so.

::  While at the cemetery we walked around for a while.  Wandering through the grassy areas we saw all sorts of unique tombstones and family markers.  One said, “integer vitae.”  Neither one of us knew what that meant so when we got home, I researched it.  This is a phrase from a stanza from an ode written by Horace.  “Integer vitae” is telling you to live a life of integrity so that you’ll be safe no matter where you go.  Good idea, huh?

::  To decorate for Memorial Day I put red-white-blue stars-&-stripey pinwheels in the flower pots by our front door.  And then I put two smallish flags in a flower-pot along the front walk.  EZPZ, but stylish and inviting.  However, except for one other family on our street who put out one big flag, no one else decorated for the holiday.  Don’t know what to make of that.  This neighborhood usually goes overboard for any and all holidays.

::  We finally had a cookout– our first of the season.  Burgers and veggies cooked on the grill.  Fresh berries on ice cream for dessert.  Served with delightfully cold white wine spritzers.  Simple and delicious.  Just the way summer is meant to be.