Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Marble Slab

Alas, Not The Ice Cream Store...

It's funny how often you run across these little coincindences, parallels and serendipitous moments with the other bloggers in your Blogroll. I'm starting to lose track of the number of times Elisson & I have inadvertently done posts with a common theme or similar content. AlanDP has a habit of posting about things I've got on my mind before I can, and I can't count how many times I've $h1tcanned a post because (in the misquoted words of Nathan Bedford Forrest) one of y'all on the blogroll "got thar fustest with the mostest".

I guess it is inevitable, though. We link other bloggers because we like what they write. We like what they write because perhaps we catch a reflection of our own personalities in their blog content. Sooner or later our experiences and histories are going to intersect.

This time, it's Eric The Straight White Guy who's posted about something very familiar to me. He's got a couple of posts up about finding a relative's gravestone in a state of disrepair, and bringing it home to clean up and give a respectful place to remain.

Well, take a look at what resides in my backyard:

Sorry for PhotoSchmearing out the name on the headstone, but like they sing in the song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt", his name is my name too! I'm still attempting to remain semi-anonymous!

The stories behind our headstones aren't that different. At some point in time, this headstone was broken at the base and dislodged through either a deliberate act of vandalism, or perhaps some idiot mowing the cemetery backed a tractor into it. Hard to say.

This headstone belonged to my great great great grandfather. He was born December 29, 1817 somewhere in Mississippi, and died June 27, 1852 in Carrollton, Mississippi. He died young, but sired three kids before he shuffled off this mortal coil.

When my grandmother first got interested in genealogy, she made a trip through the South to locate where relatives had lived and died. She found the damaged headstone at an old cemetery, and secured permission from the local authorities to take possession of the marker before it could "wander off". I do not know if a replacement was ever commissioned. I'll have to ask at the next reunion.

My grandmother completed her tour of the South with this headstone wrapped in a blanket in the very bottom of the car's trunk. The story goes that Grandma was very nervous she'd be arrested in some podunk town for graverobbing if anyone was to catch sight of it, so it remained covered until her return to Texas.

Back home in Texas, it was placed out back under a pecan tree. This pecan tree, to be exact, and it remained there for the next few decades.

When the family sold the homestead in 1998 after my grandmother went to a managed-care facility, we were taking a last look around the property and spotted the headstone. No one else seemed to want it, so I volunteered to take it back to my apartment in Carrollton, TX. (Another coincidence?) It sat on my fireplace mantel while I lived there, and I used to annoy my relatives by telling them I was using it for a cutting board!

Now it sits out back in Houston, TX under this pecan tree, and with any luck, won't get moved again for another 50 years.