Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Thoughts

Beersheba Springs' Armfield Cemetery, established in 1871, holds a small number of graves, including the one for John Armfield himself. A partner in a large pre-Civil War slave trading business responsible for the sale of some 8,000 slaves, Armfield was also one of the founders of the University of the South and after the war owned the Beersheba Springs Hotel, which today is a Methodist Assembly.

Like the season itself -- of fallen leaves and shifting seasons, the cemetery might be viewed as a solemn and dark place, celebrating as it does the life of a man who sold people, but also a respectful memorial to the man committed to education of young men.

He, though, isn't what held me long in the cemetery. This did: a memorial of six joined hands.

I read the names of those remembered in stone (Bess T. Cason, Sue T. Gibson, Boneda T. Merritt, Robert W. Turner, Robert W. Turner Jr., Sally Wright Turner), but I do not know their life stories beyond their being family. 

I do know this: love lasts beyond the grave as long as a family member or friend lives, as long as their descendants live, even if in ignorance of the persons in their own direct and extended family tree.

This memorial reminds me of what I've lost, the family members now gone (one in October some years ago), but also of the connectedness we still share. I've seen no more touching marker.

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