Hoarfrost stars sparkling,
meteors blazing a cold
The Reader Cemetery is where most of my forebears are laid to rest. It has mostly fallen to Meghan and me (Sharon) to lay flowers on 21 graves. These include Pat’s father, my parents, both sets of grandparents, four great-grandparents, my brother, my sister, aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, cousins, and several beloved former employees of the ranch. It even includes a friend of my long-deceased grandfather who was killed in a notorious gunfight in Baggs in 1912 (Chick Bowen). We always try to lay flowers ahead of the Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery. This year, we were inundated in rain and fully occupied in the lambing shed, so did not get the flowers laid until Memorial Day itself–a day after the remembrance ceremony. We figured that the ancestors would understand about the lambing.
Tombstone Time—A Sonnet
Of all the jobs that fell to me
Just one drew tears, and grief and dread
I postponed, but all would see
No stone upon my mother’s bed.
Gravestone nightmares filled my sleep,
This rock would last far past my days,
“I pray the Lord, my soul to keep”
And choose a stone ‘fore end of May
When friends and kin would honor her,
Winter dead, and ashes laid,
With tales of love, with summer flower,
Not let beloved mem’ry fade.
Life’s essence captured in one line
Carved in rock in tombstone time.
We were crowded in the bunkhouse;
Not a soul did dare to sleep.
‘Twas midnight up at Three Forks,
And the snow was six feet deep.
It’s a terrible thing in that land,
To be caught in such a storm.
You’re forty miles from nowhere,
And no way to give alarm.
When the storm was over
And the sun began to shine.
We scooped the snow off the cattle,
and they were looking fine.
We lifted our arms to Heaven;
Said, “Thank God for just one thing.
Today’s the Fourth of July;
It can’t be long til spring!”
John Gill, 1939