Grave Consequences

June 12, 2010

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When Betty arrived at her husband’s grave for her weekly visit, she was stunned at what she saw.  Next to Henry’s grave was another stone.  Someone named Eli Hart had been buried in her plot!  She and Henry had purchased the dual plot decades ago, with the plan to place two small marble stones atop the graves instead of a massive dual headstones that some folks seemed to prefer these days.

It seemed that those idiots at the cemetery had messed up some paperwork and this Eli fellow was buried in her plot!  Betty was mad  enough to spit nails.  The plots had cost them a pretty penny, and the funeral home had charged a small fortune for Henry’s funeral three years ago.  She wouldn’t begrudge them the money if they would do a competent job.  Who had ever heard of burying someone in the wrong spot?  Betty was going to storm into the funeral home the first thing Monday morning and raise holy hell with Samuel Clinton.  This Eli Hart fellow was going to have to be dug up and moved somewhere else.  After 50 years of marriage, Betty was damned if death was going to separate her from Henry.

Betty took a moment to regain her composure before beginning her time with Henry.  She decided that he didn’t need to be bothered with this nonsense about the grave mixup, so she didn’t bother to mention it to him.  Betty caught Henry up with all of the news in their family.  Their son David had finally been made a partner in his CPA firm – after many years of having the company drag their feet.  David and Amy’s daughter Melinda would begin her residency soon.  Melinda was going to make a great doctor some day.

Their youngest grandchild, Preston, was six months old and changing before her very eyes!  He was a happy baby, always laughing.  Betty remembered when his mother was the same age.  The smallest thing could set off Sarah into a half hour laughing fit.

The Cubs were off to a rough start again this year.  She hated to be the bearer of this bad news, but she also knew that Henry would want to know about his beloved Cubbies.  He had been the eternal optimist, always saying that “next year” would be their year.

Betty felt herself begin to get tired and knew that she had to wrap up the visit.  She said her goodbyes to Henry and prepared to leave.

The following day, two cemetery employees were performing routine maintenance at the cemetery.

“Jeff, take a look at that stone.  Grass clods from the mower are obscuring half the name.  Fix that, will you?”

The other man knelt in front of the stone and cleaned away the grass clods to reveal the name ELIzabetH ARThur.  As he glanced at the grave site, he was surprised at how rough it still looked.

“Betty has been dead for almost a year now.  Shouldn’t the ground be settled by now, Terry?”

“Maybe she rises from the dead each night and returns to her grave before the break of dawn.  That’s probably why the site appears to be disturbed, Jeffrey.”  Terry laughed at the absurdity of his response.

Reflections from a Ledge

October 9, 2009

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Myron Buford climbed out his apartment window and sat down on the ledge outside.

This was nothing new for Myron. He would, on occasion, sit on the ledge and observe the frenzy occurring ten floors below – people racing to and from in the great rat race of life, as well and the infrequent appearance of the small animals who once had this territory all to themselves. Sitting on the ledge was very relaxing for Myron.

This time was different, however. Today, Myron would jump from the ledge, his body would collide violently with the concrete below, and he would die a quick death. Myron definitely hoped that his death would be quick.

Myron’s life had been in a downward spiral for months. His old boss had been replaced by a new manager. The new guy was a relentless task master, and Myron’s life had quickly become a living hell. All of the members of Myron’s team resented the new boss, and everyone had to work long hours of unpaid overtime to meet his demands. The boss had been particularly demanding of Myron, and Myron eventually got hopelessly behind. He tried to cover up his failures with a series of lies, and the boss had eventually uncovered the truth. Myron had been fired – kicked out onto the street after ten years with the company.

His girlfriend had been very supportive at first. Eventually, though, she simply couldn’t handle having a boyfriend who was unemployed. She went looking for greener pastures. To make the situation even worse, she was now dating the son of Myron’s former boss.

Just two days ago, Myron’s dog had died. Yesterday, he got a parking ticket while he was filling out paperwork at the unemployment office. He received a notice from the video store about a long overdue video – they wanted $88.42 in late charges! His favorite TV show had been cancelled by the heartless studio executives. And Myron thought that he just might be coming down with the flu. His life really wasn’t worth a plugged nickel.

Myron decided to take in the view of the street below one last time before he ended it all. He noticed that a light snow flurry had begun, making the people quicken their pace in an effort to stay dry. The snow reminded Myron of the upcoming Christmas season.

Christmas had always been Myron’s favorite time of the year. The presents were great, of course, but they were secondary to the holiday itself. Myron loved going to midnight mass to reflect on Christ’s birth in a manger so many years ago. He loved the Christmas dinner of beef roast and mashed potatoes that his mother prepared every year. The highlight for Myron, though, was spending time with his family. Christmas was one of the rare occasions on which he was able to spend time with his parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews.

As Myron got caught up in remembrances of Christmas past, he began counting his blessings. His dog may have died, but his pet goldfish was still swimming happily along. His favorite show may have been cancelled, but he did have all eleven seasons on DVD. He could watch reruns until he found a new show to watch. He had glowing recommendations from some former co-workers and would probably land a decent job before long. If his girlfriend wouldn’t stick with him through the hard times, it was probably better to find out now, rather than five years down the line. Heck, his favorite author had a new book coming out next week – he definitely needed to wait for that. Life was indeed worth living.

Myron was lost in happy thoughts as he moved back toward the window. He didn’t notice how slippery the ledge had become until he was sliding off. He managed to grab onto the ledge with one hand for a few seconds, but quickly lost his grip and fell to his death below.