My father was in the mood to discuss burial plans last evening. He has asked, numerous times, where I will be burried. I wondered if he has been diagnosed with some life-threatening disease. I refuse to discuss grave plots with him, insisting that I have no money right now and I really don’t care what becomes of my carcass when I’m gone. But last night, he wouldn’t let the subject die–
“I was up to see Mom’s grave today. Did I ever show you the grave of the little Taylor baby that mom asked me to watch over when she was gone?”
“Yes Dad. I remember the grave. It’s the one without a headstone. It has a tiny lamb carved from marble sitting over the resting place, no? Whose baby was it?”
“Not really sure. Mom told me to take care of it after she was gone. You know, I always played with that little lamb when mom was in church. To this day, that thing fascinates me. I picked it up today and looked at it. The head was still balanced where it should be. That little white church really takes good care of the graveyard surrounding it. Even after all that mowing, someone took the time to be sure not to run over that little lamb again. I talked to a guy at the church and asked how many plots the family has left up there. He said at least a dozen.”
“How many Taylor’s are buried near the lamb?” I asked Dad.
“Not really sure. You know your great- grand father was never married and owned all that mountain. Back in those days, women were hired to do housework and often settled down with the men who kept them. They called him Sir Miles, you know. He must have had kids to about four women. I imagine that little Taylor baby came from one of them. Are you still going to get cremated when you die?” Dad asked.
“I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of those plots. You know I’m in charge of the family graves now that Bernie is dead.”
“What do you mean, Dad? Are you offering me a free burial plot at that beautiful little grave yard on top of Stonecreek Ridge?”
“If you want it. You know there is an open grave next to your Meme.”
“Dad– that is so perfect. Please Dad, can I have it?” I asked, not actually thinking of death, but rather, such a charming resting place.”
“I thought you said you wanted to be cremated.”
“That was only because I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t know I came from such good blood.”
“Well ya do son, and the grave is yours if ya want it. I’ll go up there tomorrow and fill out the paperwork. I think your grandmother would be tickled to know you rest beside her. I’ll be sure to take care of you when you are gone,” Dad said.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “I’ll probably live longer than you.” I insisted.
There was a terrible silence. Dad didn’t say a word. It seemed as if he already knew my fate– as if I were that little Taylor baby buried up on Stonecreek Ridge and he was playing with me, like the headless marble lamb.
Now I must think of what to write on my tombstone. Perhaps they can simply stick a wire hanger in the ground.