Thursday, September 24, 2009
Today at Elmwood
Warm summer sun shine brightly here
Warm southern wind blow gently here
Green sod above lie light lie light
Good night dear heart, good night, good night.
This gorgeous monument is but one of the may, many reasons you need to visit Elmwood if you've never had the occasion. When I was in college, my creative writing professor brought us here for inspiration, and I'd say he was successful.
(Except for the former staff member who imperiously declared in front of my entire class as I handed over a check, "There is no A in CEMETERY!" She does not inspire me.)
I really want to use the descriptor of "haunting" when describing this cemetery, all punnyness aside. There's just something about the rolling hills and marble angels standing watch over loved ones passed on that stays with you long after you leave the grounds. Kim McCollum, the director of the cemetery, is often asked if she finds her workplace frightening or spooky, and she laughs out loud at the thought. She insists it's just too beautiful to be anything but enchanting.
But obviously, it's a cemetery. A very old cemetery. People were taken from their loved ones much too early, and that's why I was so stuck by the monument of Ms. Etta Grigsby Partee. As I learned on a walking tour of the grounds one summer night, Etta died.
On her wedding day.
She was loved so much by the fiance she left behind that this beautiful monument was built in her honor. A glass dome originally shielded her from the elements but inevitably shattered. I stood there staring at her statue long after our group walked on, and it just seemed obvious to me in that moment that this is where I would need to have my book party. This bride never had her wedding day, so the least we can do is eat some cake and sip some champagne in her honor.
I hope you'll join me this afternoon at 5. If not, make an effort to visit one day. I promise you'll be haunted in the best way possible.