Monday, August 29, 2005

Late Night Thought

Scott and I have known each other since high school, but it seems that in all our years of acquaintance and 1.5 years of marriage we have managed to miss out on discussing one major philosophical difference-our attitudes in regards to cemetaries.

Yes, cemetaries.

We know favorite foods and colors, clothing sizes and religious preference, but we disagree on whether or not cemetaries are "creepy". Normally I would just hash this out with him until we reached some sort of understanding, but since he fell asleep in the middle of the conversation I'm forced to explain myself elsewhere.

I was fortunate enough to spend most of my growing up years living in a very old house in an incredibly rural area. (It's technically a village, but I believe our family of ten constituted more than 50% of the population.) If you walk out my parent's front door at a 45 degree angle to the right and continue across the street, you will find yourself at the entrance to an old Presbyterian church with adjoining cemetary.

I absolutely love that spot. The church itself is only opened two Sundays a year for Memorial and Labor Day services, and the rest of the time it's locked up and left to gather dust, since the better part of the congregation now attends the newer church in the town four miles over. There is a large border of shrubs that guards the churchyard from the roadway, and the yard itself has beautiful ancient maple and oak trees that have probably been there for nearly two hundred years. There's a dirt and gravel path that horseshoes around the church so people can drive through, but my sisters and I all used it to bike on and as an extra loop for our dog walking excursions. Occasionally I would take walks through the plots by myself since it was nice and quiet and there were so many interesting things to see. Some of the headstones in the oldest part of the cemetary date back to the Civil War, which gave me some interesting story fodder in my early writing days. It's a really pretty, peaceful spot, and it was never looked upon as particularly morbid when someone in the house would announce "I'm going for a walk in the cemetary".

When I moved away to college I was delighted to find out that small college town's cemetary was similar to the one I had left at home- out of the way and quiet, with big leafy trees and lots of surrounding yard buffered from the rest of town by a big stone gate and tall shrubbery. During early autumn I would hike down from the dorms with a bag of books and a cd player and do music theory homework under a large oak tree, enjoying the peace and taking an occasional break to stroll around the paths. My first real college date actually included a walk through the cemetary, and whenever I was stressed out or angry my boyfriend would march me out to the car and take me for a walk in the "garden of the dead". Picnic lunches of chinese food on the lawn were not unheard of, and if a friend was having a bad day a walk through the cemetary and half an hour of listening to the wind blow through the leaves usually cheered them up nicely.

During conversation this evening at bedtime I casually mentioned my love of the cemetary back home and hubby was appalled. "Doesn't that creep you out?" he sputtered. "I mean, what if you SAW something????" I'm not a horror movie afficionado, so zombies and flesh eating ghouls aren't the first things I think of when cemetaries are mentioned. Hubby, however, has seen more of these shows than I can count, so the idea of pleasure walks between headstones gives him a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. I'm sure it will be even worse if I do manage to drag him out for a walk, because I have been known to apologize aloud if I accidentally step on a gravesite.

I just had a truly naughty thought- would it be wrong if I had a friend hide somewhere behind a tree, then after apologizing have them toss out a "no problem" with hubby in earshot? Yes, it probably would. Bad Megin. *stifles an evil laugh behind her hand*

Anyway, I find cemetaries nice and not particularly terrifying. How about the rest of you? Honest opinions are welcome, and if a referral number for a psychiatrist shows up I promise not to take offense. ;)


Bill said...

I've never found cemetaries creepy or scary. I've always wanted to walk through one at night...however, there tresspassing rules against it.

I remember going to a friend's cabin north of Titusville, not when I was at Pitt, but actually when I was at Clarion. About a half-mile from the cabin, there was a small dirt road that went up a hill and into a large wooded area that had a small clearing where a cemetary was located.

It was a neat cemetary. There were headstones dating back to the American Revolution, and people still made trips out there to place memorials on the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. Perhaps family still lived in the area.

It was an interesting cemetary to visit especially in the dead of winter with a foot of snow on the ground. Had an interesting Sleepy Hollow-esque quality to it.

Years before, when I was a boy scout, we went on a "bike hike" on this newly developed river trail that was created between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Along this trail, there was an overgrown cemetary that also dates back to the American Revolution. Some scouts came back to it a few years later and, as an Eagle Scout service project, turned the over grown cemetary and its fallen church into a rest area where cyclists can stop for lunch or rest and visit the cemetary.

I've always enjoyed cemetaries. I find them peaceful places to be.

Take care, Megin, and drop me a line sometime.

Running2Ks said...

I like them. I don't want to be buried in one, I'm for cremeation. But I like them for walks--I used to take my books and study in one in college. Also, they are great to make pencil scribblings--you grab a piece of paper and use pencil to get the imprint of the dates. My girls want to go into them for nice walks too.

Al said...

Yup, I like cemetaries- since there's one at the Farm, where I spent half my life growing up, I got used to the idea fairly quickly and have never been particularly bothered by them. They're peaceful, quiet, and there's never anyone around to bother you. And don't worry; I tend to apologise when I step on graves, too, even though their occupants have most likely gone on to other lives a long time ago. There's one on each side of the road here in Edinboro, and the one on the lake side has some very old headstones that I will probably get around to making rubbings of one of these days. It's got huge old trees, and goes right down at a slope to the waterline on the back side, so you're nicely insulated from the traffic noise.

Oh, and I've probably seen as at least as many horror movies as Scottie has, so there's hope that he'll mellow about the zombie factor yet #grins# You can try him out on the little one at the Farm, if you like- it's very small and nonthreatening.

Donald M. Trenn Jr. said...

I like cemetaries also sis. Our lovely Catholic church was just up the street from where we lived so me and my younger brother would walk and goof around through there when we were kids all of the time. Down the street from us in the back of someone's property there was a very small and somewhat hidden cemetary that actually had soldiers burried their from the Revolutionary War.

purple_kangaroo said...

I don't mind cemetaries either.