Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Halloween & Cemeteries - What people say

 Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines 


Photo property of the author

With Halloween just a few days away it seemed appropriate to look at what people say about the day and about cemeteries. 


“A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality.” From "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

"When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, 'tis near Halloween." Anonymous 

And I do like this one:

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be your on Halloween." Anonymous

And of course, while not Halloween, one cannot forget the witches from the 'Scottish' play by Shakespeare.

"Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble."

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Even the wonderful Ray Bradbury had something to say about the day:

"Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallow's Eve"

Dia de Los Muertos or the Mexican Day of the Dead is a celebration the occurs near the Halloween holiday. In simple terms, it is a celebration of those who have passed. One day a year, our departed come back to celebrate with us. For more on this celebration: Day of the Dead

And that leads us to cemeteries:

“Blasted grave marker. There sure are a bloody lot of them. They've got some nerve burying all these dead people here.”  from Camille

"There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can't do any business from there."
Colonel Sanders

"Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends."
Henry Ward Beecher

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"The Cemetery of Forgotten Books is a metaphor, not just for books but for ideas, for language, for knowledge, for beauty, for all the things that make us human, for collecting memory."
Carlos Ruiz Zafon

And one of my favorites is from the book 'Dead Beat' part of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher:

"The cemetery isn't open after dark. Most aren't, and there's a reason for it. Everybody knows the reason, and nobody talks about it. It isn't because there are dead people in there. It's because there are not-quite-dead people in there. Ghosts and shadows linger in graveyards more than anywhere else, especially in the older cities of the country, where the oldest, biggest cemeteries are right there in the middle of town. That's why people build walls around graveyards, even if they're only two feet high—not to keep people out, but to keep other things in. Walls can have a kind of power in the spirit world, and the walls around graveyards are almost always filled with the unspoken intent of keeping the living and the unliving seated at different sections of the community dinner table."

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I hope you found a look at how people view Halloween and Cemeteries interesting. Below is an excerpt from my short story 'Gilbert Hopkins is Going to Die' in the anthology "Under Western Stars".

          “You’re going to die, Gilbert Hopkins, everyone does. But not today.” Gilbert said every morning upon arising, and every evening after his meal. “You have yet to make your mark on the world.” He also would remind himself at odd times during the day.
            The day was like so many others in his life. At the start of the day, Gilbert would put on the coffee, take care of his ablutions, then sit and prepare the list of his daily tasks. Day after day he followed this routine. At night he would review his list and add anything he felt should be included. In his mind, this was the perfect way to achieve his goal of making his mark in the world. Gilbert knew he was going to die, everyone did. However, he wanted to be remembered.
          From an early age, Gilbert always believed he would make a huge difference in the world. He’d pondered how he’d accomplish this goal and decided being a newspaperman was the way to achieve it. He’d studied important reporters and newspaper owners trying to learn their secrets. He made sure he went to school every single day soaking in all the teacher offered. When he decided he was ready, although only thirteen, he got a job with the local paper. He believed starting at the bottom was the best way to learn the business, even if it meant working in the evenings after school.
             After about six months, Gilbert started hinting to his boss that he should let him report on what was happening in the town around them.
          "Mr. Harper, I'm out and about a great deal and you would be surprised at how people talk when they think it's only a youngster standing nearby."
            Mr. Harper would stand there, hand smoothing his beard as if he were contemplating letting Gilbert try his hand at reporting. In the end, however, he would shake his head in the negative saying, "You may have a point, but I don't think you're ready."
           These setbacks only incited Gilbert to try again and again and again until finally, one evening when the two of them were closing up, Mr. Harper gave his assent.
         Gilbert smiled at himself in the mirror remembering that first story. It was about how the local mill owner was shortchanging his customers by a few ounces each. Gilbert cringed at the memory of Mr. Harper's response to his story.


Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

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