Feb. 23, 2019

YEARS LATER, IT FELT GOOD TO SETTLE A SCORE..MY WAY.

Cemeteries. I've never felt nervous or frightened in cemeteries.

Some of the most beautiful sculptures, statues, and elaborate headstones are on display in older cemeteries. I love this beautiful old statue that's been in Graceland Cemetery, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for as long as I can remember.

I wrote about Graceland Cemetery in my book. Well, actually I shared a personal incident that occurred there....an incident that involved me and a permanent resident. Read it now:

 

 In 2012, DYS-- The Division of Youth Services for the state of Arkansas -- with offices in Little Rock-- offered me a position as Special Education Director.   I accepted the position and immediately resigned my teaching position in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  On my final day of teaching, I took a late lunch break and left school early.

 Before leaving town, I chose to drive past a few old landmarks for a final goodbye; to say one last “thank you” to my hometown, the city that raised me.  Driving through the city’s abandoned downtown, 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 once intersected with the town’s Main Street.

Driving down the Martha Mitchell Freeway, past the town’s oldest cemetery where many of Pine Bluff’s well-known and familiar now resided, I felt 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--joined them.  I decided long ago, not to take up residency in this cemetery. Instead, my ashes will be spread on the Great Wall, a much-happier 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.  It was the same month but six years earlier when I lost my Father.   I talked with Jerry for a while, shared a few memories, a prayer, and a goodbye... before walking back to my car.

 Many in Pine Bluff are afraid to visit the town’s largest cemetery--- whether day or night.  These days, Pine Bluff resembles a war zone of drugs, killings, robberies, and there are no longer any safe places, anywhere. 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 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 several of his family members, including his mother, father, and young nephew. Driving there, I felt good about my decision.

 Stepping from the car, I took my time walking to his grave. Finding his  grave marker, I carefully positioned myself over the spot where his head rested.  With one last look-around, 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 since the one and only time I got tipsy on Champagne---back in 1960--climbed on a table at The Trio Club, and performed 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 of my cemetery actions. Still laughing, the “little girl in me” takes full responsibility.