I know, I know. Cemeteries are a weird thing to love. But I just can’t help it.
There are probably a hundred different reasons that I love cemeteries. I’m a history buff, so it stands to reason that I’d love a venue that has such rich history and so many different stories. I enjoy being outdoors (don’t all New Mexicans?) and I like the peace and quiet of a cemetery.
I once wrote a short story entitled “Cemetery Fighting.” It wasn’t so much about fighting in the cemetery as it was about how I would run away to the cemetery after I had a huge ugly yelling- throwing-things fight with my husband in North Carolina. Our arguments were filled with such venom (he HATED that I was homesick for New Mexico, I hated that his only skill was drinking himself into oblivion – go figure) that I had to get away to the quietest, calmest place available, and in North Carolina there was a cemetery around every corner.
That was one of my favorite things about the south – that ready availability of a cemetery through which to wander. Whereas New Mexicans tend to congregate their deceased in community cemeteries maintained by municipalities, every church in the South that had cemeteries for all their parishioners. And with a Baptist church on every corner, that made for a heck of a lot of cemeteries.
So, yeah, I love a good cemetery, especially somewhere rural and desolate and filled with headstones carved at the turn of the last century. I love the cemetery in Cimarron, New Mexico with the hazy purple mountains in the distance. I love the cemetery at Logan for its windmill in the corner and its lack of perpetual care. There are yuccas and cedar trees and a view to the Revelto Creek and the graves of my Aunt Ruby and Uncle T.H. I love the cemetery in Glenwood Springs, Colorado – Doc Holliday is buried there, along with the victims of an 1863 mine accident after which they segregated the cemetery and buried all the blacks in one distant corner.
Last week Dave and I drove over to the Anniston Cemetery between Logan and San Jon. I’ve been working on a post entitled “24 miles from Logan to San Jon” that keeps wandering away from me. I want to talk about how the one road I’ve traveled my entire life always holds a surprise – a view I hadn’t noticed before, or a field of antelopes, or a mesa in the distance about which I’d forgotten. But I can’t seem to get the post from draft form to completion simply because so many individual portions of the road distract me. Like the turnoff to the Anniston Cemetery.
I can’t tell you much about the history of the Anniston Cemetery, except that the oldest grave is pre 1900 and the newest is from 2005. I’ve always gone there with family – first as a child and then in the last ten to twenty years with my dad whenever we’d drive over to his old home place in Porter. The Anniston Cemetery is two miles east of the road from Logan to San Jon. There’s a sign that I’m sure you’ve all driven past hundreds of time. Now there’s a barbed wire gate, but there’s no restriction to the public. You drive over a rutted dirt road and then turn back a quarter mile to the south and you’re at the cemetery.
My uncle Henry is buried there, along with a couple of his babies, and the babies of my Aunt Rhoda and my Aunt Janie. These are babies born in the thirties, one set of twins that my Aunt Janie lost to pneumonia at less than six months. The stones are hand-carved and worn away, so much so that’s it nearly impossible to tell who’s who.
I’ve posted some pictures. If you need a quiet peaceful place to go after a particularly grueling day, or if you just want to get a closer look at that bluff on the east side of the road that you’ve seen in the distance for years, take the time to leave the road and take a look. It’s a great place to recover your senses Or open them up.