FOR ONCE.... I DID IT "MY WAY".
After five years at The Jenkins Center, I accepted the position of Special Education Director for the State's Division of Youth Services. On my final day of teaching, I took a late lunch and left school for the last time.
Before leaving town, I chose to drive past a few old landmarks for a final goodbye; to say one last “thank you” for the good times. Driving through the city’s abandoned down town, I remembered the crowds that once gathered there to shop; to meet with friends; to watch the frequent parades; and to stop for the many trains whose tracks intersected with Main Street. My remembrances were distant memories.
Driving down the Martha Mitchell Freeway, past the town’s oldest cemetery where many of Pine Bluff ’s well-known and familiar now reside, I had the urge to turn into the cemetery gates. Perhaps I needed to visit with my brother who’d been buried there since 1994. Jerry’s wife buried him beside her father and grandparents and, in 2012, she joined them. I decided long ago, not to take up residency in this cemetery—choosing instead to have my ashes spread on the Great Wall of China, a happy place for me.
I parked the car, and walked among the headstones until I found Jerry’s grave. It was February, 1994, when Jerry died, the same month my Father had died, six years earlier. I talked with Jerry for a while, shared a few memories and a prayer, before walking back to my car.
Many in Pine Bluff are afraid to visit the town’s cemetery— day or night. Pine Bluff has become a war zone of drugs, killings, robberies, and no place is safe. Looking around, I was the only person in sight; there were no cars, bicycles, or pedestrians in any direction. The afternoon was sunshiny and bright with a slight breeze. I felt completely safe and perhaps that’s when I got the wild idea and....the courage. Who knows why an intelligent woman—like me—suddenly loses all dignity and good sense, and commits an absolutely reckless act of temporary insanity.
I knew exactly where to find my ex-husband; I’d been to the family plot for the graveside services of his mother, father, and nephew. Driving there, I never wavered in my decision.
Stepping from the car, I took my time walking to his grave. Finding his marker, I positioned myself over the spot where his head rested. With one last look-around and seeing no one, I pulled down my pants and squatted, like I’d seen Chinese women do, for an enjoyable pee-pee. I peed so much and for so long, the artificial flowers near Jack’s headstone seemed to perk-up with new life.
For most of the ride back to Little Rock, I alternated between laughs and giggles. I haven’t felt that wild and wicked since the one and only time I got tipsy on Champagne back in 1960—climbed on a table at The Trio Club, and did a naughty-girl dance. Through the years, I’ve been accused of being impulsive, but never impulsive and wild at the same time.
More than a few of my critics will be shocked to read about my cemetery action. Still laughing, the “little girl in me” takes full responsibility.