Gut Rumbles

April 25, 2009

The family cemetary

Originally published November 14, 2003

My mama's side of the family all came from prolific breeders. My grandmother was one of 13 children and she had 5 herself. Her sister Chassie had at least 10, I think. I would have to check the family Bible to be sure. I've got a bunch of cousins running around this country, many of whom I will never see.

I know that my dad had a sister who died at the age of 12 and both she and his father are buried on the side of a hill in Kentucky where the mountain has overgrown everything now. I visited those graves once, but I'll never try to go there again. Hell, I have only a vague idea of where my father is buried. I've never been back to the grave since the day he was planted and I probably never will. My father isn't there. That's nothing but a hole in the ground with a box underneath.

I'm not big on visiting grave-sites.

But my Uncle George visited a well-kept cemetary in Clay County, Kentucky, a couple of years ago and he took a video of his visit. He filmed the tombstones of about a dozen children who either died in childbirth or never made it past the age of two. Those were all my relatives.

I never knew them and they all died long before I was born. Still, that video got me all fucked-up. I cried, seeing all of those graves. Bejus, but it must be hard to lose a child and see one die before he or she ever gets a chance at life. I want my son and daughter to scatter my ashes some day. I don't want to bury them first. That's not the way the world should work.

Of course, childbirth was an iffy thing back in those days. I was the first child on either side of my family to be born anyplace other than a bed at home. I actually had a doctor deliver me in a six-room clinic in Kenvir, Kentucky. He had never delivered a baby before I came along. He was almost as proud as my daddy was when the ordeal was over. I believe that I am uncircumsized because the doctor wanted to quit while he was ahead.

Life once was a lot more difficult than it is today. That's why pissant lawsuits over finding a worm in a baked potato or some shitass whining about hot coffee spilled in her lap piss me off so badly.

I think about all of those tiny tombstones I saw on that video.

We don't appreciate how good we have it today.

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