Tuesday, May 27, 2008

About the duck at the cemetery

My dad wanted to visit the little country cemetery where my gramma, grampa, and various other relatives are buried. It's near Bucyrus, Ohio, in Crawford County.

My gramma's family had a farm in that area in the late 19th century. Her dad died young, at only 35, which I know because I just saw it on his grave stone. Gramma was only six, and her brother a couple of years older. So my great-gramma did what any young widow might do at the time--she packed up and moved to Cleveland to live with a relative.

I would have liked to have known my great-gramma, because of her choice of second husband says something about her. She married a Great Lakes ship captain, a Captain John Betke. You can read all about him here: History of the Great Lakes»

What I find amusing is that my great-gramma is buried beside her first husband, but Captain John is buried with his own stone right alongside them.

My gramma and grampa are next in line, and I'm sure my gramma is comfortable resting in the shady little cemetary just off Rt. 98. I imagine my grampa is a little restless--if gramma was a devout Methodist who read the Bible everyday and harbored very fond memories of living on the farm, my grampa was a quick-witted Irishman from Buffalo who liked the ponies and partly supported his family during the Depression with a small bookie business run from a local tavern (my dad's memory of the Depression!).

My memories of this cemetery go way back--I think the first time I was there was in late summer 1968, the year my grampa died. We returned the next spring and summer so my dad could install grampa's grave marker (it had been ordered from the V.A., since grampa was a WWI veteran--it came during the winter and creeped me out for several months, as it was stored in our basement).

Our best time at the Roop Cemetery: The family who lived next to the cemetery had kids the same age as us. Of course we started talking and playing. They also had something of a menagerie, which we enjoyed, having something similar at our own house. A flock of ducks hung around the little barn, something we didn't have, so we were hanging on the fence observing.

One of the ducks took a look at my little sister and got hostile--just like we bigger kids did! That duck sensed an easy target--just like us! That duck went after my little sister like a missile and attacked her! Just like we did!

She was screaming, the duck was quacking, my mom was speechless, us kids were mesmerized, and the neighbor lady came to the rescue.

My sister has been traumatized for life by that duck, avoiding waterfowl to this day (well, and by some other childhood memories, but really, we swear we saw the alien spaceship leave her in our driveway).

There's no ghosts for me in that cemetery. Just duck down.

How about you? What ducks are you ducking?

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