"The problem with talking about the past is it becomes disturbing. You start thinking of a thousand anecdotes, and your life merely as a collection thereof."
I pulled my car uncertainly onto the dirt rode and drove to the halfway point, and stopped, and we got out and started walking through the cemetery.
"Let's see if we can find the oldest gravestone here," said Corb. It might be a challenge. Some of the markers were so old that moss had grown over the inscriptions, and time had aged away many of the stones so that they resembled something washed up on the beach. "I wish we had brought some paper and a crayon," he said, as he touched one, whose occupant had faded away into antiquity.
"I wonder if the oldest are in the front of the cemetery, or the back?" I asked. "The back ones actually look older, to me."
"Could be," said Corb. "1824." He whistled. "These go back a ways."
"It's kept up pretty nicely, though," I said. The lawn looked to have been mown recently, and there was only a dusting of fallen orange leaves on the ground. "Oh look!" I cried, and moved to a gravestone. "There are a lot of Halls around here. My Mom's family was all Halls, which is an old New England name. I wonder if I have any relatives buried here?"
"You might be joining them, if I have my way," replied Corb.
"Ooh, I'm scared," I said, and made a face.
The oldest stone we found was 1775, right before the revolution. The stonework was rather primitive--a rough oval, and layered, as though it had been constructed of a series of sandwich-thin pieces of granite. The headstone contained etched letters that looked slightly wobbly. You could see lines under each row of inscription, which the stone maker had apparently used as a visual marker to make certain the inscription was set properly.
Later, we returned to Joanie's farmhouse, where we had spent the night. Corb was house watching while Joanie and Leslie went on their honeymoon. I sat on the couch, surrounded by her three dogs. I had taken a particular fancy to her German Shepard, which had beautiful brown and black markings and reminded me of Lady, the collie mix that my parents had adopted around the time I was born, and grew up with me until I was ten.
"I'm glad this place isn't haunted," I said, patting my favorite pooch and trying not to sneeze.
"It is," said Corb, changing for work. "Don't you remember? They had to smudge the area right before the wedding."
"Well, that's fashionable, anyway," I replied. "Everyone wants to live in a haunted house, really."
"Why do you think that?" he called from the other room.
"A bunch of reasons. First, it makes for great dinner conversation, and it's spooky. It makes you feel all nervous and tingly, but that can be kind of fun, as long as the ghosts that share your space don't try to suck your brains out, or anything. Plus, it's comforting, too. It kind of gives you the feeling that immortality is possible."