Saturday, July 26, 2008

Generations Gone By

The Williams/Turner Graveyard. Kentucky.

To get to this graveyard, you drive up a narrow gravel road that passes someone's home. You have to shoo dogs, chickens and roosters off the road on your way. You drive through the cow pasture, up the hill. You have to get out of the car to open two gates, and close the gates behind you so the cows don't get into the graveyard. I have been here countless times as a child and many as an adult. I have wondered all over this place and I always find interesting things about the stones that rest here. This is the headstone of my 3xGreat Grandparents. My Ma-maw's, Ma-maw's, Ma-maw and Pa-paw. Did you follow that? I think that is what she said when I asked her about this. I wanted to get the name of the graveyard right. She said it was originally just Williams, but that the Turners had donated so much land that they added the Turner on later.

This particular headstone has always stuck out in my memory. The verse just so unusual. "Remember friends as you pass by, As you are now once was I. As I am now, you must be. Prepare for death and follow me." What does this mean? I have pondered this before and came up with different meanings. Whenever I think about the meaning that lays there for any passerby to see, I can not help but think, what was their interpretation so many years ago. What did they want people to think of when you see that on the headstone? What were these people like? Who were they? How was their life? Did they ever wonder these things about the generations before them? Did they really have time to wonder about the past generations? I can not help but wonder about them. I have some photos of them, these strangers looking back at me. And yet they are a part of my history, my life, my story. What were they like?

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