Sitting at the edge of the old grave yard …
I met a old man – I smiled – he looked as if he wanted to say something, I walked on, I felt his intrigue. It was the edge of an invitation perhaps? As I walked back he asked if I was from Briton, and then he proceeded to share some of the intense highlights of his life.
He went on to say that his history had dated way back to revolutionary times, civil war and more.
He seemed to be giving me fast highlights as if it was important that I needed to know them. I listened intently, amazed at the open sharing to a stranger with flaming red hair, glossy lipstick and a huge California smile. How long it was since the last time he got to share anything with anyone. I focused more of my listening. Both his daughter of 38 and wife of 70 had died. It made me even more curious as to if they died together or in short period of each other.
I didn’t interrupt. I noticed in his manner as if it was just a fact but I couldn’t help but to feel his loss, even though it was never on his face or in his voice. It was as if I was a witness to these moments which were to be noted and yes, I was taking notes.
He sat in the sun with his very tiny small radio, wearing his old cardigan of blue and grey.
I couldn’t help but wonder if him sitting there was a mystical metaphor for an entrance into another world. Like a weird foreshadowing intending his death, or as if he was waiting patiently for death to come. Maybe, even as if, he was the ferryman waiting to take us all across to the other side. WHOA! Maybe in some weird way, I paid the ferryman for another day? OK, well, I had no intentions but to give a kind ear and loving smile and gesture of care. To let him feel that he wasn’t a lone. Just before I left, I watch a few people walk by us and they never looked over, as if we weren’t there… Very odd, I thought. Here at the edge…
Anyway, if I had had more time, I might have got them both a cup of coffee and heard both mens’ stories for another few hours. You see, there were two men, one on either side of me at the entrance to one of Salem’s oldest cemetery. Spooky!
Sitting in a sort of wheel chair-walker, I noticed that the other man to my left. I got the feeling he was a veteran of one of our wars. Frank, the gentleman I was talking to, was just sitting cross legged in a calm observing manner in contemplation prior to us speaking. They were both sitting like they were caretakers of the old cemetery. Even crazier, this cemetery housed the memorial stones of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials. I thought, people who were wronged and people who were right, buried together in quiet plight. Yes, that rhymed!
This man’s memoir of moments touched me. A brief glimpse into Frank’s life story.
A man whom may never repeat his story again. A lifetime of worlds alone inside of him. Someone who loved and lost, someone who brought a little music to the quiet Salem MA Cemetery.
and… My day was blessed by the keeper of the entrance.