Sunshine... on my shoulders, makes me happy.......
Words can not describe how great it felt to get out and enjoy the sunny Texas skies this weekend. Not even John Denver's words. After so much rain, weekend after weekend, it did my heart and soul good to feel the sun in my face.
If you click on most of the pics in this entry, you'll go to my flickr photo album online. There, you can see other pictures from this trip that aren't in the blog and see the pictures larger for more detail.
We took a run out to Weatherford, Texas yesterday. Being a Sunday, we didn't have high hopes of many of the antique shops being open - but dammit, I wanted to get out of the house. Weatherford has one of the coolest downtown areas of any small/medium sized Texas towns. Its the County Seat of Parker County, and it's Second Empire Victorian style courthouse is one of the few courthouses I've been to that doesn't have powerlines ruining the photo composition:
Our first stop, since we arrived before anything else was open, was Greenwood Cemetery, located northeast of downtown. Public cemeteries are generally open from dawn to dusk, which is pretty convenient for the drop in visitor :)
The cemetery was pretty well kept, although there is the usual evidence of vandalism and general decay you get in most older cemeteries. They've clearly taken conservation steps on most of the damaged stones, though, which is good. A common method is laying the broken stone down and embedding it in concrete.
Not a bad method, since it pretty much eliminates the repeat damage that might occur if you just patched it together and stood it back upright. Still makes my blood boil when I think about the shitty people who sneak into cemeteries at night and break stuff "for fun"...
Anyway, Greenwood had some surprises for us. As usual, there were the poignant sentiments and the beautiful works of art that characterize most pre-1950's headstones. This one caught my heart in my throat:
It's a 6 mo old girl's headstone (laid down in concrete to preserve/repair it). Obviously loved by her family back in 1861, I was drawn to the stone by the flower left by a previous visitor. There weren't flowers on any other graves nearby, and obviously nobody that actually "knew" her would still be alive. She didn't even live long enough to have an kids. So there's no great-grandchildren that might visit the old relative that they never knew, but still felt a connection to.
So... who left the flower, and why?
Maybe just a passerby, like me, that felt something for the faceless people slumbering beneath the ground. Maybe someone that wanted the little girl to know she isn't forgotten....
One of the surprises was this odd crypt like structure that was partially buried:
The carving at the peak of the roof explains that it is the grave of Hiram E. Swaim, who was buried within back in 1883.
No other info, and seems like a REALLY big crypt just for one occupant. No mention of his family, what he did, who he was... just the basic name/date arrangement. I guess Hiram liked his elbow room...
Another set of interesting residents of Greenwood were the real life historical inspirations for fictional characters that most of you will recognize.
The above picture is the gravesite of Oliver Loving and his Wife. Loving is believed by many to be the inspiration for the character of "Gus", played by Robert Duvall, in Lonesome Dove. Gus is one of my all time favorite fictional characters. The Goodnight-Loving trail is a famous piece of American Western History as one of the first legendary cattle drives.
The other notable resident is also linked to Lonesome Dove. This is the grave marker for Bose Ikard.
Mr. Ikard was the inspiration for the character of "Deetz", played by Danny Glover. Bose was born a slave in Mississippi, but after emancipation he joined up as a cowboy with Charles Goodnight (the inspiration for Woodrow F. Call, in Lonesome Dove). He became a trusted employee and good friend to Goodnight over the many years and trails they were together. Charles Goodnight had the sentiment inscribed on the marker. It's difficult to see the engraving, since the sun was directly overhead. Here's the quote:
Bose Ikard served with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked a duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me in many stampedes, participated in three engagements with Comanches, splendid behavior
Pretty cool :).
The next entry will continue our Weatherford Trip, including a visit to a reportedly haunted old hotel...