Banner photograph of St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery, Bath, North Carolina - Taken by Judith Richards Shubert October 2008

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
- Thornton Wilder

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Will of Mr. Farmer - Lingleville, Texas

West End Cemetery

A lot of the childhood memories I have took place near the small, neatly manicured cemetery of West End in the tiny, dairy community of Lingleville in Erath County, Texas. When my father remarried after having been left with three small daughters to raise with the help of my mother’s immediate family, we spent half of our time in the little frame and rock house that resides beside this still used cemetery which is so typical of the ones you find in this part of my home state.

We spent many hours “visiting” the dead, carefully tiptoeing past the headstones, and depending on the time of day or night, marking our escape route with wary eye as we dared one another to go to the far end at the top of the hill. As we grew to adulthood we enjoyed watching our children enjoy the same fascination with our childhood playground.

I don’t remember any of us being disrespectful. It was a natural thing to do – walking and playing in the cemetery. Every visit to the “home place” is punctuated with time taking a leisurely walk, traveling the same path we once took as children. And now the grandchildren are the ones running from stone to stone, reading the inscriptions and calling out to one another to hurry.

This Thanksgiving as my sisters and I joined the grandchildren in the afternoon we saw a memorial we had not noticed. How we missed it before is a mystery. We read it and laughed as we remembered the gentleman whose life it spoke of. I will not share the names and dates on the gravestone since one of them is not deceased, but I wanted to share the epitaph with you here.


I leave:
To my wife, my overdraft at the bank – maybe she can explain it.

To my banker, my soul – he has the mortgage on it anyway.

To my neighbor, my clown suit – he’ll need it if he continues to farm as he has in the past.

To the ASCS, my grain bin – I was planning to let them take it next year anyway.

To the county agent, 50 bushels of corn to see if he can hit the market – I never could.

To the junk man, all my machinery – he’s had his eye on it for years.

To my undertaker, a special request – I want six implement and fertilizer dealers for my pallbearers, they are used to carrying me.

To the weatherman, rain and sleet and snow for the funeral, please – no sense in having good weather now.

To the grave digger – don’t bother, the hole I’m in should be big enough.

All photographs taken by Judy Richards Shubert
at West End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas Copyright 2008


  1. Judy, your story about the cemetery that served as your childhood "playground" was wonderful. And the epitaph on Mr. Farmer's gravestone was priceless, but so true of the life of a farmer.


  2. Thanks, Janice. Yes, the life of a farmer has a lot of ups and downs. So glad you enjoyed my post. And thanks for following my blog. Hope you have had a great Thanksgiving holiday.

  3. Judy,

    I love the will. If this was my ancestor, I'd be concerned about his business sense... I may use it in my genealogy humor talk.

    The stone looks relatively new - so you may not havem issed it when you were a kid many, many years ago.

    Thanks -- Randy

  4. Hmmmm, thanks, Randy! I think. Yea, it is fairly new. Guess we didn't miss it "way back when" ~ I'll always remember how my sisters and I laughed when we found it and one of the girls read it aloud. Was priceless.


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