Better Bring a Shovel!

Heading to Lismore

Heading to Lismore

I’m heading off to Lismore, Minnesota soon with Mom (in the trunk) to take her cremains for her final burial.  I couldn’t resist saying “Mom in the trunk” since it has been a long-standing joke about Mom herself taking Dad in the trunk when she carted him off to Wisconsin to bury his cremains.  My brother will be accompanying me on this journey as we retrace our route that we took for many years on family vacations, going across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, over to Marinette, Wisconsin to visit my father’s grave, and then stopping at Marine-on-St. Croix in Minnesota to visit the site of our great-great-grandfather’s brewery before heading to the little Protestant cemetery outside Lismore where Mom will be buried.

I used to walk into Lismore from the family farm.  If you look at the picture above, you can see where I’ve circled the farm and then you can get an idea of how I’d follow the road and then cut across little side country roads to walk into town.  My grandmother’s parents used to live next to the lumberyard in town so I’d walk past that house which is still standing.  I’d usually stop for a cold pop at the one little grocery store in town and then often head over to the Presbyterian church where my grandmother was the church organist and perhaps sit in the shade of the trees in the side yard or perhaps meet up with my grandma who often came into town to practice the organ.

A lovely view

A lovely view

I was trying to describe the cemetery to someone the other day.  In the above picture, the cemetery is circled at the bottom and our farm is circled at the top.  Here is how I described the view:

“It’s surrounded by cow pastures and fields.  You can stand by the fence and look out over the fields and see our old family farm.  It’s just lovely out there.  Very peaceful.”

They looked at me as though I was nuts.  In truth, there aren’t many buried there these days.  Most prefer the big, fancy cemetery in Worthington or even Edgerton.  I don’t care.  I prefer the sound of the mourning doves and the soft bellowing of the cows with the wind whispering through the few pine trees that are still on the property.  When I had my horse on the farm, I used to saddle up and ride over to the cemetery, enjoying the orange tiger lilies blooming along the side of the roads.  For some reason, my Colorado-raised horse was terrified of Holsteins so when I’d get to the road that went to the cemetery, I’d have to dismount and lead him past the herd that was always congregating beside the entrance to the cemetery.  It was such a lovely way to spend a bit of a hot summer’s afternoon.

When I was looking at Google’s image of the cemetery the other day I thought, “Gosh, I don’t think there are any graves there now but our old Graf plots and the few smaller headstones of our family.”  Then I realized that the other tombstones are now the flat ones that cemetery caretakers favor because it is easier to mow.  Well, Mom has an upright tombstone and she took the liberty of engraving my name next to hers.  That’s ok.  I want to be buried there, too.

Do-it-Yourself Cemetery

Do-it-Yourself Cemetery

If you look to the left of the center trees, you’ll see a cluster of headstones.  That is our old Graf family plot.  Just to the left of that are the markers for my grandparents and Mom.  Speaking of burials, our funeral coordinator has been coordinating long-distance with the diggers in Lismore to have a hole dug for Mom’s cremains vault.  Today my brother called out there just to double-check that they will be ready for us.

“Now, you’ll have someone there for us at 2, right?” he asked.

“Um, you WANT us to be out there?” the secretary asked in surprise.  “Normally, we just dig the hole and then let the people have a private service.  Then you just call us when it is over and we’ll come out and close up the grave.”

“How deep will the hole be,” asked my brother.

“Gee, I don’t know,” said the lady on the phone.

“You’d better bring a little shovel,” I told my brother.  I’m not leaving Mom sitting out in the open when we put her in the hole.  We’ll at least put some dirt over her and then call them.”

“I’m bringing my paracord bracelet in case we have to lower her down deep.  We can jury-rig it up to lower the vault,” he suggested.

“Jeez,” I laughed.  “I guess they do things differently out in the country.  Maybe we ought to bring some grass seed.”

Mom would find this highly amusing, I’m sure.




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