Patti Soldavini

Disturbing The Cemetery Peace

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/24/2011 at 7:56 pm

"SO I barked. Sometimes you talk too much."

Today Olive and I drove down to the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, New Jersey. It was an opportunity for me to complete a genealogical task; to photograph the bronze grave marker of one of my ancestors. It was a good excuse for both of us to get out. Having been effectively quarantined for the past 10 days trying to avoid the Persistent Satanic Heat Blast and nursing my infected Lyme rash, I figured it would be a good break from hiding inside the house like twin crypt keepers. The red fabric blinds have been drawn all week, making it look as dark and claustrophobic as the inside of a mausoleum. Off we go. Olive climbs into the back seat of the SUV and takes her spot (the middle) on the olive-colored bench cover, looking as expectant as a child on Christmas morning. I plug in the GPS and as usual, she immediately contradicts the route I was going to take to stop at an ATM first. Whatever. I get to the ATM drive-up and there are three cars ahead of me. Cars one and two come and go pretty quickly. Car three, immediately in front of me, apparently has massive issues that I don’t think a bank can solve. He must have pressed every button four times. “HOLY CHRIST OLIVE, WE’RE GOING TO BE HERE FOR A MONTH. I THINK THIS IDIOT IS TRYING TO PLAN HIS VACATION, THAT OR HE’S TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH EXTRATERRESTRIALS.” Olive just looks at me. Perhaps she thinks extraterrestrials are giant treats. Finally, the constipated clown in front of us moves and I complete my transaction in seconds. It’s easy. I need some cash. This is an ATM, Unfortunately, it doesn’t dispense brains. About 90 minutes later, we arrive at our destination, just as I’m wondering why the electronic beeyotch told me to turn left instead of right. I let Olive out to pee and give her a drink of water. As usual, trying to locate a grave inside a cemetery is needlessly complex, like a topographical M.C. Escher print. Really, what’s with the convoluted sectional numbering? Section KS. What do they do, hire cartographers to chart cemeteries? I see a marker for Section KN and one for KW, but WHERE THE HELL IS SECTION KS? As we make our way around the cemetery roads in circles, I see a melancholy sight. A man sitting in a canvas chair with an umbrella on it right in the middle of the lawn, obviously next to a grave. You could sense this was how he spent every Sunday. And you also sensed he would be spending the entire day here. This fleeting impression made me feel that it was a father at the side of his son’s grave. Very sad. Just a very short way away I finally locate section KS. I get out, open the windows for Olive and start looking for my ancestor’s grave. All the markers are bronze and flush against the ground. This gives the cemetery the appearance of being the least populated cemetery I’ve ever seen or the kind of park that one would never associate with so much sadness. There is another family close by, paying their respects. I am now about 100 feet from the car and apparently I’ve crossed some imaginary line as Olive begins barking like she sees ghosts that I do not. Mortified that she is disturbing the peace of families paying their respects in a veteran’s cemetery, I stop, look back, and not thinking, place my finger to my lips, giving Olive the universal human signal for “QUIET!” Olive understands this (when she wants to), but right now, I’m far enough away from her that she can’t see this command. And it’s not like I can use the dreaded spray bottle from hundreds of feet away. I stop to face her and she stops barking. I turn away from her and she starts in again. I think I’m doomed. My best bet is to find the grave marker as fast as possible, say a prayer, take a picture and get the hell back to the car. I do this amid Olive’s insistent barking and when I turn around to begin the walk back to the car, my little Tasmanian Devil goes mute. The best is yet to come. While I was only outside of the car literally for less than 10 minutes, apparently the GPS beeyotch has suffered a stroke. Which I don’t know until I start the car and begin driving. “GO .04 MILES AND TURN LEFT ON CONSTITUTION DRIVE… GO .03 MILES AND TURN RIGHT ON CONSTITUTION DRIVE.” “WTF?” I say out loud. I swear you could almost hear the tension of ambiguity in her electronic voice. It gets much worse. “HOW TO MAKE A SPAGHETTI SANDWICH, STAY TO LEFT.” “SHEEP ARE BISEXUAL CREATURES. TAKE RAMP ON RIGHT.” “TODAY IS ADOLPH HITLER’S BIRTHDAY, TAKE ROUNDABOUT.” Okay, so she didn’t go to Crazy Land quite this way, but really, it was as if she just stepped off a rollercoaster and couldn’t get her balance. I took her off the dashboard and put her in front of the A/C vent. “TAKE 1-95 FOR 3,048 MILES TO ICELAND.”

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  1. That filthy, frosty, beaver!

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