Family homesteads come and go, Graveyards tend to remain the same
When I was growing up, our family would frequently visit my paternal grandparents in North Wilkesboro. They lived on the Sparta Road, and as they were unencumbured with unnecessary frills, their manner of life had something in common with the name of that road on which they lived.
As we would head northwest, I remembered my mother once saying that as my fatherís age increased, the faster he drove. My speed of motoring is generally minus a few numbers in the ěoneís columnî from my age of 60. In the number of years of my fatherís life, he didnít exceed 60, but if his speed of driving had represented the length of his life, a decade, plus some, would have been added to his years.
I brought books to read as I rode. One time, I brought along a fossil guide, and imagined dinosaur bones being buried underneath the rolling topography approaching North Wilkesboro, temporarily forgetting that another Golden Nature Guide, ěRocks and Minerals,î had told me that under those foothills, lay only the same solid rock as that of the Appalachians.
Although there were no prehistoric bones below our route, we did pass the ěbonesî of a metal scrapyard on the way. It seemed immense then, metallic scrap sorted by size into mountainous hills. One pile contained the clearly identifiable parts of automobiles. The most fascinatining pile, though, resembled a giant mound of dark brown soil, but when I strained my eyes toward its sky-silhouetted edge, proved to be made up of tiny, ěwiryî pieces of rusted metal.
I recently Googled ěSparta Road, North Wilkesboroî on Google Maps. Stores now occupy where my grandparentsí home once stood, as well as the once-adjacent field where I excitedly caught a Great Spangled Fritillary for my butterfly collection, as a boy of 10. I later heard that some years after my grandparentsí death, the old house was taken apart and the wood used in the construction of another home, but I imagine that its reassembly differed from that of the original, just as that which physically constitutes each of us will never again be reassembled in an identical form. The home across the road to which my aunt later moved some years after her parentsí deaths is now a parking lot.
E-standing next to the paved road ( once gravel ) which turns off beside where my grandparentsí home once existed, I looked through the eyes of the little yellow stick- figure, Google street-view man down the extent of that road. I saw that the old white-framed rural church there, in the distance of my memory, has become a brick, collonaded structure, looking much too urban, much less ěcountryî now.
I then clicked my way up the Sparta Road to the not far-distant cemetery where my grandparents and aunt are buried. Despite many changes along that road, Mountlawn Memorial Park doesnít look much different since my grandparentsí burials there in the early 1960s. The necessities of death having a much lesser impact upon the land than those of life.
The replacement of houses by businesses and parking lots, over time, is change of a different nature than the addition of gravestones in a cemetery. Those added stones, over time, just represent ěmore of the same.î
In the passing years, time has displayed a great disrespect to the places where my grandparents and aunt once lived there lives, but to this day, still evidences a great reverence for where they lie.
By Ed Norvell for the Salisbury Post “Poochie” is an outstanding play written by local author and playwright Sam Post... read more