A comment left on Britt's blog reminded me of a very funny story involving my dad's ashes, a family burial plot, and a buried leg.
As you all know, my father died ten years ago in January. Two weeks later, his older brother, my uncle who was more grandfather than uncle and who was a great influence in my life, died as well. His death was due to a heart attack, but Mom and I know it was, literally, a broken heart. I was the executrix of his estate and, therefore, had to take care of his remains.
Both he and my father wanted to be cremated and I was going to scatter their ashes. Personally? I think cemeteries are the biggest waste of real estate. My father's and uncle's remaining brother and first cousins all protested. They wanted a burial site to visit, clean, mow, and take care of. So, I acquiesced and, on a hillside near Paint Creek, West Virginia, on a plot of land donated to my family by the coal company that owns said mountain, I stood amongst family headstones, looking for the perfect spot. All my first cousins-once removed (being from West Virginia, you've got to know all this first-, second-, third-cousin twice removed crap - otherwise, how do you know who it's OK to marry?) were standing around, waiting on me. There was Clorine (no, seriously, that's her name) and her husband Deskar (who could only whisper because of a WWII injury) and Sug (her name was Violet - Sug, as in sugar, was her nickname) with her husband Mike. Sug and Clorine were sisters. My mom stood next to me.
So, I finally chose the perfect site. It was at the upper corner of the plot, under a tree. I pointed there and said, "That's where I want to bury them."
Sug - Oh, you can't bury them there. Penny's leg is there.
OK. Back story. Penny is the other sister and she only had one leg. The other had been lost in a car accident when she was much younger and, it turns out, the family had buried the leg she lost.
Me - Seriously? You buried Penny's leg?
Sug - Yeah. We didn't want to lose it.
Well, for the first time in three months, I busted out into laughter. This? Wasn't regular laughter. This was tears coming out of my eyes, doubled over, on my knees, laughter.
Me - Holy crap. You buried her leg?
I could barely function. I finally calmed down enough to choose the opposite far corner of the plot, Dad and Uncle Curtis were buried, and we left. Now, whenever I visit their grave sites, I say hello to them and to Penny's leg. She died a couple of years ago and I don't think they reunited her with her leg. Sad for her, great for me and my sense of twisted humor. How can you be sad at a cemetery when you're talking to a buried leg?
My friends Toni and Jenny? They just wanted to know if the leg was dressed in a pants leg, sock, and shoe before it was buried or naked. Box or bag?
Questions we'll never know the answer to...
Unless in a drunken fit of curiosity, I go up there with a shovel.
Anyone want to join in?