Death is a serious business. Shakespeare told us that it is “that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.” We knew that though. Some very rich people have bemoaned the knowledge that “you can’t take it with you.” The lyricist Moss Hart even collaborated on a play with that title.

In recent decades people have taken to being cremated, rather than being buried. I don’t know if there is a lot of difference to someone who is already dead. Probably not.

Plenty of graves are still being dug for those who do not trust this thing of being burnt. After all, what would happen if…but never mind. Let’s not think about that.

For years we lived in a house where our back fence was shared with that of a cemetery. The fence was rusted and much of it lay on the ground. That was fine with us. It opened a short cut from the bus stop to our kitchen door.

Of course, we are fearless people. I taught the kids that the graves are just monuments and there is no need to be afraid of anything in that regard. They nodded solemnly every time I told them. On one occasion my son said, “All right, Pa, we get it. You don’t need to say it so much.”

Of course, at night we did not take the short cut through the cemetery. We knew the graves are just monuments, but why take the chance? Right?

Then the night came when my bus was late and a full moon, in combination with a cold wind, cast grotesque shadows on the graves. I paused and nervously surveyed the scene but I was hungry. I thought what the hell, and took the short cut. What happened after that is so horrifying that I need a break before I can go on. Maybe a drink will help. I will continue with the story as soon as I’ve calmed down.

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Graveyards, Cold Winds and Shortcuts