Grave Robbers Point

July 22, 2011


by Jill C. Kirkham:

The cemetery has long been, if you’ll excuse me, a favourite haunt of mine. I find it very soothing, especially in the fall. I love to walk the narrow tree lined paths, and read epitaphs or talk to my little sister. Heck I even taught my twins how to ride their bikes on this holy ground. (No traffic)

In an odd and ironic twist my tranquil retreat has become a minor nightmare. It began after Memorial Day. I was taking my weekly walk and noticed several people picking up flowers off of graves and depositing them into their vehicles. They weren’t being at all shy about it either. Most were just strolling down the lanes and nicking the ones they fancied. I thought to myself ‘What a great idea! Rescuing these flowers from becoming compost! They are set to be discarded in a day or two, and my beds could use a bit of sprucing. Besides, I have spoken to the sexton in the past, he let me have a bag of dirt for my garden. And if all these people are just blatantly retrieving them, what could be the harm?’

So, the next day I loaded up the twins and off we went. When we pulled in I told them the plan. We were going to collect ten flowers and give them a good home. They were excited at the prospect of helping plants and they love the graveyard as much as their mother. We went about choosing colpimentary colors and varieties that would suit our front yard. (We plant our beds in orange, white and black for the Halloween displays) Once we had selected our rescues and were on the way out I saw It. The most beautiful dark purple climbing clematis. It was so striking against the lush green backdrop I thought it would be a shame to let it perish. So, against my better judgement I turned back to fetch it. After collecting our last edition and while singing The House Of The Rising Sun we made for the gate. . . and were cut off.

Out of an authoritative white truck hobles the Sexton. Mumbling something to the effect of ‘. .don’t think all those flowers belong to you. .’ and a vague ‘. .do you know how many people come crying to me. . ‘ Then, he pulled out his cell and dialed.

The call I caught clearly. “Yes I need an officer to Mountain View Cemetery right away. I have a young lady here stealing flowers.”

Stealing flowers? Are you serious? As we waited for the law to arrive I tried to reason with the keeper of the dead, but he would have none of it. I told him I would put them back, I told him I have a perfect record. I mentioned that we had met before and he liked me then. However with each comment he grew more to resemble the monuments he watched over. Eventually I took my own cue from the dead and fell silent.

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