A lot of the childhood memories I have took place near the small, neatly manicured
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.
LAST WILL OF MR. FARMER
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