Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2003, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Old Cemeteries

    We are always interested in old cemeteries and old houses. Recently we had the pleasure of accompanying a son and his wife into another county in Arkansas.
    He wanted to take us to see an old cemetery. We crossed a mountain to get there and we drove for miles without passing a single dwelling.
    When we reached our destination there was nothing to see but tumbled-down houses and the old cemetery with the church building, unpainted and also falling to decay. It had only two windows, one on each side. We wondered where the children of those days gone by attended school and decided school was probably held in the church.
    The cemetery had old tombstones with names and dates going back to the 1700's. We found one in good shape reading 1846, then many on into the 1900's. The epitaphs were unique, though many of the stones were so old, time had erased the lettering.
    The old houses we saw were interesting, many being made of logs. We viewed one of them. As we stood there, almost with awe, we wondered if a book could be written about the history, telling of the hardships and the happy days. It would make interesting reading to those of us who love old things.
    The old gate was swinging on its hinges and creaking as the wind moved it to and fro. The wind whistling around the corners of the old house had a ghost-like, mournful sound. The house itself was a double log affair with a dog trot between. It was many miles from civilization in those days and we wondered how the long ago family made a living. Farming, I suppose, and raising all their own food.
    We had a wonderful day living in the past with our mind's eye doing its best to recreate the old days.
    The trip made me wonder why people want to vacation in faraway states when there are so many wonderful places to see right here in the Ozarks.
    The old cemetery reminded me of a poem, "The City of Peace," which I spoke at a Decoration Day service years ago. Here are a few lines I still remember, though I can't name the author.
    "There are numberless forms in the City of Peace which childhood might claim as its own. But no laughter, no voices of glee resound in that city of stone.
    "They are waiting for us in the City of Peace and whether soever we fare, each eventide brings us more near the shadowy portals through which those who have gone, whom we miss in our journeying here."

Mellie Smith
May 1974

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