Thursday, December 2, 2010

These honored dead.

There's no better place for a names enthusiast to browse than a cemetery, and I have a doozy on the doorstep. Rye's Greenwood Union Cemetery only dates back to 1837 -- our Milton Road Cemetery, which includes the Purdy family's burying ground, goes back nearly two centuries further -- but today, under blue skies, that low, silvery December sunshine, and with only a slight chill in the air, it was a perfect place for Leila and me to take our constitutional.

The cemetery is bisected by the tree-lined Beaver Swamp Brook, placid despite being flushed with yesterday's heavy rainfall. A bright blue beachball floating in the water, pinned to the bank by tree-roots, is an odd but pleasing touch. I suppose it sneaked in from a better world upstream, but it seems to belong among the tombstones with their hopeful, carved messages of a better world still to come. (And the occasional presumptuous message to the living, supposedly from that better world.)

We check out the corner of the graveyard set aside for black Civil War victims and other African-Americans, still unfairly segregated in death, despite their cause, and still unable to rest in peace -- at least in this world -- because of I-95 roaring past on the other side of a chain-link fence. But here's today's discovery, a small tombstone with a richly inspiring name: ENDLESS HUDSON.

Although the marker mentions his service as a private in the Second World War -- and presumably he died in that conflict -- it is entirely appropriate that Endless has no recorded date of death.

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