Saturday, July 20, 2013

My latest cemetery adventure.....

I had six photo requests for a small cemetery I'd never been to before, and when I looked at a map and realized it was not far from my vet and I had to pick up wormers, I figured I'd swing by and take some pictures.

The cemetery was at the end of a road off a main thoroughfare. When I made the turn it was a paved road, but it quickly turned into dirt. I came upon a stretch that looked as though it had been washed out. Deep ditches on either side, and some here and there on the road itself. What I could see of the road ahead looked okay, and I could drive around the deep areas, first on the right and then on the left, so I proceeded.

Big mistake. Once I got around a bend, I could see that the road—what was left of it—was even worse ahead. But by this point I had to go forward. The road was too narrow to turn around, and I couldn't back up around a bend, steering with the precision required to avoid sliding into one of the ditches.

I've never driven on anything like it. Several times I had to get out of the car to make sure my wheels were accurately placed on narrow bands of road between the ditches. It would have been nerve-wracking even in my SUV, but I was driving my big old Chevy Caprice, very low to the ground. I could just imagine the undercarriage slamming down on something, rupturing the 25-gallon gas tank I'd just filled.

The rest of the road was like that until I got to the cemetery. Once I arrived, I took 65 pictures because a) I knew I'd never go back there, and b) the more pictures I took, the more I could delay the dreaded return trip.

On that return trip there were times I didn't think I'd get out of there without calling the cops to come rescue me. It's funny—I had called the local police the day before to report a road hazard, and still remembered their number. But somehow (divine intervention, maybe, plus more checks on my wheel placement) I got to the end of the road and back to civilization.

When I uploaded my photos I found a large number of mistakes in the FindAGrave listings—more than I'd ever encountered. The memorials had errors in birth dates, death dates, and the spelling of names. There were so many it was almost funny. I wondered at one point if the local gravestone engraver had had an overdeveloped sense of mischief.

I was glad to be able to email the memorial managers and correct the errors. One guy--whom I emailed 12 times--never responded. I hope he made the changes.

One image that stayed with me was two wooden crosses, no names.


Indigo Bunting said...

How harrowing!

it's me said...

Brave lady!
wish you had included a few photos of the adventure.

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

Only 50% of Vermont's roads are paved, so I can well imagine how scary it must have been.

Susan said...

You know, I live on a dirt road, not always maintained very well, but I've never seen anything like that.

I had my camera (obviously), but it didn't occur to me to take pictures. I guess that shows how intense the situation was. (Which I suppose would make me a lousy wartime photojournalist.)