On Thursday, I told Jennifer about a cemetery I had visited shortly after moving to Eugene. She wanted to see this cemetery, too. Since she was getting out of school earlier than Jesse the next day, I told her I would take her then.
When we got to the cemetery, I parked across the street. Just before we crossed the busy street, however, a guy came out of the building behind us and told us we could not park there. He warned us we would get a parking ticket. I confirmed the exact area he meant then told Jennifer to get back in the car so we could move it. (I am grateful for the warning!) I moved the car across the street and parked in a metered area. After I paid for 15 minutes (because that was all I could afford! Damn meter parking), we walked into the cemetery. I was thinking about the parking thing as we walked. When I’d been there all those years ago, I’d parked in that same spot. I didn’t get a parking ticket. But then, maybe things had changed. Still, I was angry. How could the city of Eugene put a time limit on how long someone could visit the final resting place of their loved ones? To me, that was just uncool. Just another way the city bilks its citizens out of money, grieving be damned!
So we walked through the cemetery. We just started looking at random graves. I’d told Jennifer before that when I had visited there, I had seen quite a few graves of infants. (Some of those graves are very old! Dating back to the 1800s.) I guess she went off looking for them because I soon lost her in our walk. I spent some time clearing some of the stones, removing tree debris where names were obscured.
And the whole time I was there, I felt like we were being watched. Not just by people. But … by those no longer among the living.
I stopped to read tombstones and look at burial sites. I occasionally had to check my phone to see the time so I did not worry about running out of time at the meter. (Grr!) Some of the graves were really interesting and I started to wonder about the history of some graves dating back to so long ago. Jennifer asked me about one in particular, because it was such a large and fancy grave, but I did not know the name. I also found one resting place of what looked like a mother with her three babies buried together.
As I walked through the cemetery studying the graves, I started to wonder if I would be back here in 3 or 4 years time for a book I plan to write. I’d just got an idea for a nonfiction book related to graveyards that morning and I wondered if I’d be including this particular cemetery in that book.
Well, the time came when we had to go and I told Jennifer it was time to get back to the car before I got a ticket. As we walked out of the cemetery, a lady and her dog joined us. One minute the dog was walking just fine then, suddenly, he/she reared back and looked to the left, past us. He/she looked for a minute longer then turned away to join his/her owner back on the walk out of the cemetery.
Both Jennifer and I noticed this happen. When we got to the car, I told her, “I think that dog saw something.”