Thursday, October 22, 2020

It's Halloween, or almost

 Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines. 

Photo property of the author

Halloween is fast approaching. While it may not be the same as when we were children, it is the child in us that remembers dressing in costumes and going door to door for candy, or perhaps the community got together and had a party for adults and children. Either way, I thought I'd take a look at Halloween and by extension Cemeteries. 

For many of us, when we were children we looked forward to dressing up, spending time deciding who we were going to be for Halloween. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else. My mother would make the costume for both my brother and myself. One year the community got together in one of the old almost abandoned houses outside of town. Everyone came in costume. We bobbed for apples, the children ran around outside and generally got into trouble. (Just not too much.)

As I have gotten older the day doesn't mean as much to me. I have rarely been home for the 'trick or treaters' so I have even gotten out of the habit of having candy on hand for them over the years. At the same time, my love of cemeteries has grown. 

To me, each day at the cemetery is like the celebration, 'Dia de los Muertos', Day of the Dead. for me. I wander among the stones, seeing the stories, the names, and wonder what their lives were like. The stones, the monuments they leave are fascinating. At the same time, even though they leave large or small stones, in the end, they all are equal. Below are some of the stones in our local cemetery.

Some people leave large monuments
Photo property of the author

The statue for the Elks section
Photo property of the author

Others leave simple stones with what was important to them
Photo property of the author

A stone near the Myron Stratton Home plots
Photo property of the author

Sometimes families are listed under the same stone.
(you also wonder why the father has no death date)
Photo property of the author

I leave you with an excerpt from my short story ' Gilbert Hopkins in Going to Die' in the newly released anthology "Under Western Stars"

          Walking down that dusty street his eyes took in the weathered storefronts, worn hitch rails, and the periodic busted slats of the boardwalk. They didn’t look so old and forlorn in the rosy glow of the setting sun he thought with a smile. 
          At the end of the short street, where it met the main thoroughfare sat his small newspaper office. With a smile on his face and a lift of his shoulders, Gilbert unlocked the door and stepped inside. The smell of oil, ink, and he had to admit sweat, greeted him.
          He turned right and walked to his desk removing his coat and hanging it on the hat tree. He lit the lamp and pulling out his chair Gilbert reread the notes he’d made for his upcoming editorial beginning the process of editing before setting the type for tomorrow's paper.
          When he'd arrived in this small town it had been his goal to grow the paper to a daily publication. But weather, crop failures, lowered cattle prices, and the recession squashed that dream. Still, he was not ready to give up.
         "You will make a difference in this world, Gilbert Hopkins, you will," he said to the four walls surrounding him. "You are still young and have plenty of time."
          He was almost finished with the edits when he heard the door open. Glancing up Gilbert saw a young child about the age of eight, the small frame backlit by the setting sun.
          "’ Scuse me, sir," the child said. "Are ya the one I talk to ‘bout puttin’ a ad in the paper?"
         "Yes, I am," Gilbert replied. The little imp of a child made him wonder what kind of advertisement they were thinking of. He asked the first questions that popped into his head.  "How old are you? And what type of advertisement were you thinking of?"
          "I'm twelve, an’ I'm hopin’ ta find my mother."

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


  1. This book sounds intriguing , I really love the sound of it. I love the book cover. I find cemeteries very interesting also lot's of wondering and questions are left in my mind while visiting a cemetery . Have a Great weekend. Thank you so much for sharing this very interesting post and thank you for sharing about your book.

    1. You are welcome. Like you,I always have questions after a visit. If I'e written the names down, I will go on Ancestry and Newspaper Archives and do a bit more digging.

      I am proud to be a part of this colletion of Western short stories, but contemporary and historical. If you read the anthology, let me know what you think. You also have a great weekend and stay safe. Doris


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