Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Old Gray Cemetery

I got bored sitting around the apartment, and didn’t want to do laundry even though it desperately needs to be done and I have to step over a pile of it to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, so I decided to procrastinate by going to see the historic Old Gray Cemetery. It’s the final resting place of governors, senators, other congresspeople, mayors, industrialists, and other famous Tennesseans.

It says so on the sign:

Old Gray Cemetery

I didn’t realize when I decided to head down there that it’s not in the best part of town. There were a lot of homeless people resting on the benches and outside the gates, and a couple times I felt a little unsafe because some of them looked a little spooky, but some of that might have been because cemeteries are always a little spooky to me.

There were a lot of statues:

lamb statue

child angel

cross draping

This one, I thought, was the most striking:

soldier statue

Horne statue

If you click on it and go to the big size, you can see that the eyes even have irises and pupils sculpted in. I don’t really know who Horne was, but I’m willing to bet that the statue is a really precise likeness.

I also want to go pick up a book on cemeteries or tombstones, because I don’t understand a lot of the symbols, and feel like they’re important:


I know at least one of those stands for the Masons, but have no clue on the rest, and that’s not even counting the indirect, sculptural symbolism:


Finger, pointing

stone rose

I’m sure the shawl/shroud, hand, and flower all mean very specific things, but have no idea what those things are.

There were also some signs of the cemetery showing its age, as some of the stones and statues have broken due to elements or vandalism:

broken statue

broken headstone

Overall it was a really peaceful afternoon, until I got spooked by the cultists. Or goth chicks. Or vampire wedding. I don’t know what it was, but I passed a group of really tall girls and a couple guys in suits, and at first I thought they were at a funeral, but didn’t see one anywhere. I lost sight of them for a little while, but then I saw them again and they’d all put on black capes and were circled around a grave with a bouquet of white flowers:

girls in black capes

At first I wondered what they were doing, and was about to walk closer, and then I remembered the hundreds of movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read where people make just that kind of stupid mistake. One minute you’re approaching a strange caped group in the back of an isolated cemetery, and the next minute you’re on the six o’clock news tied to an obelisk with your bowels disemboweled and pentacles drawn on you with your own blood.

I beat a hasty retreat to the car. Somebody else can get Blair Witched, thanks, but it won’t be me.

1 comment:

Nan said...

as always, I love your blog, Joel - and it often makes me laugh out loud. I read your blog and then another I read. Coincidence? I hope so.