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Crazy Cemetery Stories: Lost and Found
Time for the fourth of my collection of little stories based on my office job at a cemetery. As always, I will begin by saying never do I mean disrespect by recounting these tales. Disrespect was never intended as these events transpired. It's just that when you bury nearly a dozen dearly departed souls a week, six days a week, you are more than grateful when something lightens the mood now and then.
Lost and Found
When I began my job at the cemetery there was a lost and found box with an odd assortment of unclaimed items. Mostly car key and eyeglasses. And over the years we collected a few more items. Keys, glasses, earrings. I even ended up with a very nice pair of leather gloves. Hey, if no one was going to claim them, why not put them to use? And then there were the odd lost and found cases.
Have you seen my car?
If you think it is odd to amass a collection of carless keys, how about finding a car? Yes. One day the grounds crew found a car in a rather odd location.
One morning, as soon as I walked onto the office, the Super called me from the grounds. “Come up to the Carillon. Now. Bring the camera!” Now, why on earth would he need a camera at the bell tower before 8 a.m.?! Just as I was about to head up, the Director arrived. I sent him up instead figuring if it was that big of a deal he would want to be up there anyway.
So what is it that needed to be photographed? The damage to the tower of course. And what caused this damage? That would be the SUV that was part way down a wooded ravine, crashed into a tree. Not only did this mystery vehicle damage the base of our bell tower, but also seemed to have hit several trees in a high speed jaunt around the grounds before plummeting into the woods.
There was no one in the car, or the surrounding woods. Just the car. The police were called and the SUV was removed from our woods. To this day I never heard how it got there. Was it a drunken jaunt? Perhaps a stolen vehicle in a high speed chase! I happen to think it was Mr. Cooper. Risen from his grave. He got a set of keys out of the lost and found, found the matching car, and went for a joy ride. He never was very good at parking.
Four legged friends
Each year we got a few calls here and there about missing pets. Mostly dogs. A very nice girl even brought in a photo of “Chico”, her missing Chihuahua. I do hope the little guy found his way home. And there were some found pets, including an adorable Shepard mix that ended up with the Super’s kids for a time. Then, of course, there was the horse.
I answered the phone one day only for my salutation to be returned by that of a police officer in need of assistance. That’s odd. Aren’t those calls supposed to go the other way around? He wanted to know if I could please be kind enough to call 911 if a horse was to be seen running through the cemetery. Excuse me? Did you say a horse? Yes. It seems that a horse escaped from its trailer on a nearby road. It was headed towards the cemetery and they were desperate to catch it before it got onto any of the busy roads in the area. As I was getting a description of the steed, it occurred to me, what does it matter what color it is? I am pretty sure any horse running through a suburban cemetery would warrant a call. And then came the second strangest call of the day. My call to the garage. To the Superintendent. “You gotta do something for me. And you have to pass the word on to the guys. If you see a horse, call 911”. “Yes. I said a horse… Yes. You have to tell the guys… Just do it. Thank you”. And as I passed the information to the office staff I was met with the same bewilderment.
We kept our eyes dutifully peeled for the riderless horse. But it never came. There was no news story that night of a horse on the loose. No article in the paper about the thrilling chase and capture. NO ten car pile ups on the highway. I can only assume that the horse was returned to its owner without incident. Makes me wonder how many other livestock are running around pursued by the neighborhood finest and we are none the wiser.
Hang on to your Knickers!
“Hey, Dana. Do you still keep a lost and found box?” It was the Super on the walkie-talkie, in a noticeably good mood. “Yes. I do. Why?” “I have something to go in it. Pete found a pair of panties by the bench out in Tranquility. They’re in the back of his truck.” I had him repeat that. I wasn’t quite awake and was pretty sure I just heard that the Assistant Super was driving around with a pair of women’s underwear in his truck. As is my personality, I couldn’t resist a joke. “Oh. Sorry. Those are mine.” “No way. These ones actually fit in the truck!” OK. I walked into that one. “Well, you would know. You certainly stare enough to know what size I wear.” No clever come back from the other end. Ha! I won! “You guys can keep those. I better not see them show up in this office. Hang them on the cork board in the garage or something.”
And that is how the rest of the day went. Endless jokes about who’s undies they could be and how they got there. We had a blast. I have no idea what became of them. Thrown in the dumpster? Did the lovely lady come to claim them? Maybe they actually are on the peg board, though I certainly hope not! And for those of you that cannot fathom how a girl’s drawers ended up by a bench in a cemetery, it is quite simple. Clearly she was doing her laundry in the nearby pond and must have dropped them out of the basket. What a shame.