IN PERPETUITY ?
By Melody Scott
When Grandma Gaines was 74, I guess she thought she was going to die and wanted to be prepared, so she bought a cemetery plot. Then she bought two more.
Plots two and three were for her parents, who had, in fact, fought all their lives and ultimately divorced, then lived and died in separate cities. In grandma’s child’s eye, though, they were meant to be together. So she arranged to have them delivered to lie near her in perpetuity, only to find out about the expenses involved...new caskets, permits for crossing state lines, hearse rental, mileage charges, etc.
Now, Grandma Gaines, being a Depression baby, could never have been considered a spendthrift, and while her gesture in changing the last resting places of her parents was seen as magnanimous to her, her generosity didn’t extend to the pockets of the middlemen. So she researched further and found plain pine boxes sufficient for reburial, and she didn’t need no stinking hearse because her brother Johnny, age 91, could transport them in the back of his pickup truck.
Moving day came, complete with a caravan of cousins fascinated by and permissive of their eccentric aunt. Great Uncle John waved to the procession, struck the pedal to the metal and they were off at his number one speed. Over hill and over dale they drove, great grandpa and grandma wagging from time to time across the open tailgate.
John arrived long before the rest of the caravan could get through the traffic, and was prosaically asleep under a tree at the cemetery when everyone arrived. The particulars and explanations were handled, and the great grandparents interred once again after their exciting ride. Then Aunt Ellen pulled out her picnic basket and the children cousins played on the grass. Cousin Eddie told them to not step on anybody’s head.
Cousin Jill decided to try out resting sites in case she wanted to be buried there as well, and excused herself to the underground residents as she tried out lying on first one then several other locations with empties nearby. It caught on and other cousins followed suit, each choosing where they might be the most comfortable (if none of their relatives decided to move them.) The cemetery sold eight plots that day.
Grandma Gaines is now 94, and every year on her birthday the whole family gathers to take flowers to their loved ones at the little cemetery and to celebrate all of their birthdays at once with a big cake and lots of fried chicken.
Grandpa Gaines still lies in his plot in another town. Go figure.