Squirrel Won’t Rest In Peace Any Longer

Published 9:09 am Thursday, May 18, 2017

Meaning no disrespect to the dead, I pulled up the white makeshift tombstone from the woods last week and hauled it to the house. The grandchildren won’t be back for months to know. And the neighbors had to be wondering who I had buried.

At Easter, I took the six young chargers to the Macedonia Moravian Church cemetery to wash the graves of all the 20 relatives from five generations buried there since my great-grandfather married a New Philadelphia Moravian girl who put him on the straight and narrow — hard working and sober.

The clan had been Bethlehem Methodists before that.

Cleaning the relatives’ graves on Good Friday wasn’t enough for the budding generation. They were fascinated with the ancestors’ graveyard neighbors.

Some of the children tackled the oldest, blackest stones of non-relatives and scrubbed them white again.

We went back Saturday to place flowers on the graves, and then we went to the Easter sunrise service which my church conveniently holds at 11 a.m., deferring to Old Salem to do it at dawn.

For one of the grandsons, that wasn’t enough time spent paying respect to the dearly departed.

What about the squirrel I had buried in the woods back in the winter? Shouldn’t it have a proper headstone?

I couldn’t argue with that.

A spare piece of laminate boarding was just the right size.

Young Sam inscribed the tombstone: “R.I.P., Mr. Squirrel. 4/9/17. He Was A Good One.” The tombstone was fittingly decorated with acorns.

I left it up for a month, violating all kinds of subdivision covenants and probably some health department regulations.

When they visit again, I may replant it.

• • • • •

Back to Easter. The traditional Moravian brass bands fan out across Winston-Salem on the night before Easter to play at street corners to wake people and urge them to meet at God’s Acre for the sunrise service. One of the songs, appropriately, is “Sleepers Awake.”

Some of the city’s religiously unwashed don’t appreciate the unscheduled alarm in the wee hours.

One of the congregations, Fairview Moravian, this year did something … new, a dangerous venture for the tradition-bound denomination. Their band played in the neighborhoods on … Saturday afternoon.

As Expected, the church newsletter has questioned whether they committed heresy.

• • • • •

Gasoline prices are trending downward again. There’s a little place north of Martinsville, Va., on US 220 that always seems to have the cheapest gas in two states. I filled up with $1.95 per gallon fuel on Sunday returning from a quick visit to little girls in northern Virginia.

There was a time when I would have thought those were sky-high prices. My first editorial back in the dark ages bemoaned 50-cents-a-loaf bread when there was a wheat shortage. I try to avoid the grocery store these days so I won’t be reminded of inflation.

– Dwight Sparks