1280 First Stage.

There’s a graveyard out by where I live. Of course this is going by rural standards, so it’s really a few miles away, but it’s “near”. It’s fully maintained and whatnot. My father’s previous employer is buried there, and he tends to the site from time to time since his family lives fairly far away. It’s surrounded by trees, so it looks out of place around here. Structures tend to be tree lined so you can tell where people decided to set up camp, then there’s a long stretch of nothing. Strangely, a house sits just up the road from the place. I can’t help but wonder which place was there first. I’m not sure how I would feel if someone decided to slap a graveyard across the street from my house, you know?

There’s another site actually in another small town I’m close to. It sits right next to a house. I mean like the yard is there, then a stone fence, then graves. That might also be a bit much for me. That one is basically open air apart from the wall. It’s only a couple of feet high so I guess it’s just there to mark off the land more than anything else. It’s the last “structure” before you leave town, so they did stick it on an edge at one point. Maybe the houses just filled in the space till they hit it.

In LaJunta the graveyard is pretty big by the look of it and it’s also old looking, but well maintained. It sits on a rise, right by the highway, just past the swimming pool. Also something of an odd choice if you ask me. Maybe it cuts down on swimming accidents though… That whole town looks kind of mish mashed really. It’s falling apart badly in spots. The graveyard looks nicer than most neighborhoods based on my limited experience with the place. It’s called Fairview, which makes me wonder what the intend was. Is the view from the place fair meaning mediocre, or fair meaning it has a light complexion? Maybe everyone had an equal shot at looking at the place.

The main graveyard in my old town is almost full, which makes me wonder what they’ll do once it is. I mean it’s right to the edges at this point. Maybe they’ll pick another chunk of land and have two operations. Now that I think about it I don’t actually know who pays for the upkeep of graves normally. Must be the city in most cases. Clearly it isn’t always, or there are some cities who don’t give a shit about them… I’ve seen at least one house around here that has graves in the back yard. That’s some real family confidence right there. We bought this land, we plant our dead in it, and we are staying for the foreseeable future. That must be getting harder for farm families to do since so few kids want to go into farming now. Got to start teaching them early maybe… it’s like, what do you do if you move, or lose the farm? I guess grammy an peepops get to make some new friends. Or maybe unmake them. >:D


this so reminds me of the grave yard in Modoc Kansas (just west of scott city) its where my aunt is buried. nothing but a wheat feild in the middle of nowhere, then a small yard with some head stones that are so faded you cant read them anymore. i had to help dig the hole for her, same as my uncle before her, hes right next to her. when we dug his hole though, we hit a coffin. there was an unmarked grave in his spot so we had to move a few feet over. the whole thing was very disorganized. thank you for bringing up fond memories of sites like this.

I honestly can’t tell if you’re being sincere or sarcastic here.

sincere, its a sad memory but a family moment also i get to add grave digger to my list of accomplishments i loved my aunt and uncle and even in there memorial we all laughed at jokes and stories.its everything i could ever want in a funeral and i could have sworn it looked just like you have drawn it. barbed wire fence and all. i just had to share.

That is an amazing story, and Stephen King should write the beginning of the story, and then hand it off to M Night Shamwow, and get Spielberg to finish it off. You got an epic story, is what I’m trying to say. The fact that it’s true is icing on the many layered story cake.

I have a cousin buried in Modoc. It’s not a bad cemetery for a very very small town. I am sorry for the situation you found yourself in though. I wonder who was buried there.

Oh man, I was reading your post and getting rather into the different cemetery observations, but that last sentence just killed me (okay, I think the emote really punctuated the thing)

I’ve always been in more moderate/big city (or at least their surrounding suburbs) type areas, so cemetery’s have never really had a set “proper” location to me. There’s one almost across the street from the mall (weird location) while simultaneously being next door to the Guid Dogs for the Blind (like, the national headquarters) I just always figured they were where they were, and didn’t pay them much mind.

It probably doesn’t help being (relatively) close to Colma, CA. That place is nothing but cemetery’s. It’s weird.

Remind me to tweet you a picture of one of our local graveyards. It was made at the exact same time as our newest elementary school and it’s already full. I’m not even kidding. Land owner was just… drunk on money when he made the choices.

I’ve seen many types of cemeteries in remote locations when I was spraying ditches for thistles for the county as a seasonal employee. It was unofficial policy for the unit to have all our lunches in grave yards. Apparently if anyone saw us eating our lunches or parked in town for the time we were give for it they tended to report us as screwing around on the tax payers dime. This was bull but maybe the superiors were afraid that if the complaints kept up it would lead to some weird and unwieldy policy for keeping track of our time and whereabouts so they asked their people to go stealth when resting to avoid more complaints. So we hid in grave yards that were out of the way preferably with some trees to park the trucks behind and grave stones to hide in the shadow of while we ate. Very silly and gave a kind of “Día de Muertos” feeling to lunch time!

One was out in the middle of farm country with two farm houses on either side and then just fields for as far as one could see and in most directions for many miles beyond that. It was of middling size and had monuments, statues and everything. Didn’t look like a little family plot. I kind of guessed it maybe used to serve the nearby site of a dead town and maybe its (still barely living) sister town so many miles beyond it in olden times. It always made one feel like you were approaching the edge of a real town cause it looked so built up and was so well maintained by the two farmers nearby.

The story handed down to the great grandparents felt like a cover-up for a land grab gone violent to me for some reason. Probably cause I have watched too much television in my life…

Your feeling on the cover story may not be far off. IIRC, this comic takes place in Kansas, which was a VERY violent place just before the Civil War. It was a battleground between slave-trade supporters of the South and abolitionists and actually had the nickname “Bloody Kansas” due to whether or not it was to enter the Union as a slave or free state.

Looks like Joe’s about to offer some input on the situation.

Long time reader first time commenter. Came here following a link on Questionable Content a ways back and am ever grateful I did. Thank you for the between times. It’s one of the things that makes life that bit more manageable.

So thought that that might be a thing you could stand to know. Not sure if one more voice of approval is required but there it is anyway.

I have found that I never tire of praise. Please don’t hesitate to shower it on me. XD I’m glad to have you around, thanks for coming over.

Okay, I don’t usually comment as much as I’ve been doing lately, so I’m sorry if I’m getting over bearing. But I also came over from QC, and got immediately hooked. When I read my webcomics, which I do every day religiously (candles and songs and a book with a ram’s head), I always read Between Failures last. I used to read QC last, because it was my favorite.
The stuff you write is some of the best real-life comedy / drama that I have ever read. Mostly because it doesn’t get over the top ridiculous. Every character is identifiable, and interesting, because they each reflect something I see in myself. Even the three shoplifters, who have not been featured in a while, presumably because they died or went to prison, had an implied depth.
Truly, there are no small characters, though sometimes there are small writers who create them that way.
You are no small writer.

Just realized that kinda comes off as a fat joke, which it was not. Sorry.

You’re thinking of how the word fair is used now. But at the time the cemetery was named, fair was a weather word. A fair day was a pleasant one, nice and clear, no storms. So a fair view is one where you can see well, in that context.

It varies as to how many cemeteries came about and who takes care of them. Here in Wisconsin, some of them are connected with a rural church which may or may not still exist. Usually someone with the church takes care of the cemetery. If the church or settlement they were connected with no longer exists, sometimes volunteers will step up to the plate; other times the village or township will take care of it. Larger cemeteries have regular associations/organizations connected with them, or can indeed be comanies or corporations in and of themselves, which sell burial plots in exchange for “perpetual care” (the money goes to help fund the upkeep and pay the groundskeepers).
I worked as a groundskeeper for a very beautiful and picturesque cemetery in the Fond du Lac, WI area during the summer months back when I was going to college. It was actually a very peaceful job and I enjoyed it very much. Most of the time was spent mowing grass and trimming weeds around the stones, but occasionally we did have to set a few foundations for the headstones, or set up headstones which had slumped over with time. Some of the really big ones we re-set with the help of the excavating company which the cemetery association contracted with to dig the graves (yes, graves are dug with a backhoe and not by hand, at least here in Wis.). We’d basically use the backhoe arm as a crane, hook a big strap to it, and while the operator had the stone up in the air, we’d shovel enough gravel screenings under it to build up a good base, then set the stone back down again. It was pretty fascinating to see all the different kinds of headstones and grave markers, especially considering the amount of artisanship and craftsmanship that went into some of the bigger ones.

Graves are dug with a small back-hoe, and given finishing touches with a flat shovel, at a local Maine cemetery called Gracelawn Memorial Park. It’s also a beautiful place where I worked during high school, just before I decided to try college.

I live at the top of a hill that is nick-named cemetery hill due to the fact that there are two cemeteries a short distance apart between the bottom of the hill and the top where I live. If you go out to the parking lot in my complex you can see down into one of them, as my complex is right next to it. I don’t mind living right next to a cemetery though, It’s a beautiful place even if it is a little sad. Sometimes my friend or I actually go walking through it just to read the headstones.

I once tried to see if I could catch any ghost shots with my camera in each of them. In the one next to my complex I got some faint orb images and in the one further down the way I had a strange thing happen. There was an interesting looking headstone that someone had put a photograph on, the photo had gotten wet and had discolored in an odd way and I decided to take a picture of it. As I was focusing my camera I felt a chill right in front of me and my camera suddenly shut off. It was a hot sunny day by the way. I checked my camera and it wouldn’t come back on even though I knew the batteries were fresh.

My friend suggested that I ask permission to photograph the headstone, so I said “I’m sorry, I don’t mean any disrespect. May I please take a picture of this headstone?” I felt the chill again and then my camera worked just fine. Make of that what you will.

“Faint orb images” can be dust in the camera flash. I was once shown a photograph of a “spirit guide” taken indoors (in a bookstore) – a glowing circle with interesting lines/streaks in it. So I thought a bit, threw a pinch of flour into the air in a dark room, took a picture – thousands of spirit guides!

Sorry for commenting on myself – I don’t see an edit button.

I don’t mean the dust is inside the flash unit – rather, it is floating in the air, very close to the camera’s lens, so it is out of focus. The flash lights it up and it appears as a glowing circle superimposed on the picture.

So, to skeptics: Photos of “spirit guides” aren’t always photoshopped – some of them are real unretouched photos with weird unexpected visual effects.

To believers: If a “spirit guide” shows up in your photograph, it is almost certainly something mundane. There are lots of unexplained, and even (currently) unexplainable, things that are mundane.

Here in western Illinois most small graveyards are privatized and part of the funeral cost goes to grave upkeep. The owner is usually the funeral homes. We have several metropolitan graveyards in the town I live and it never really seems out of place. Near residentials but not too close, couple blocks away from commercial buildings, things like that.

A town or two over from where I live is a rather large, well-kept cemetery. Many of the graves date back as far as the late 19th Century. I think it’s at least partially owned by the town. A year or so ago, I noticed that the cemetery was running out of room. There are a string of houses to the North, but no nearby neighbors to the South except a couple of sand pits. This Spring, I saw that the hill to the South had been bulldozed clear. Today the new space is covered with fresh lawn as it awaits the warehousing of more dead.

Another old graveyard graces the top of a hill in my town. It lies adjacent to a Cable TV antenna site. The markers are in poor condition, usually overgrown and most of them date to two periods; one in the late 1790s and the other in the early 1800s. Those with cause of death all blame the same epidemic disease — which I have since forgotten. The place is creepy in broad daylight, and extremely uncomfortable after dusk.

I don’t think I’d care to live near a burial ground; consider the likelihood of a contaminated well…

This friend of mine lives in an apartment building with a graveyard across the street from it. His room looks over the graveyard. He says it’s fine–the neighbors across the road are pretty quiet and hardly ever throw loud parties.

The city I’m going to university in, Halifax, Nova Scotia, has a strange way of doing the some of the cemeteries–one near downtown is basically an extension of the park. Like, it’s got a big pathway through it and people go jogging down it and everything. There’s a few historic figures for the town in there, too, like this guy who was mayor for a few terms back in the 19th century and ran a brewery that now sells beer across the country. Sometime people (such as me and my friends when they came to visit) put beer bottles or beer caps all lined up neatly on his gravestone to pay respects.

There’s another one just by one of the university buildings down town that’s the historic graveyard, with graves that predate Canada. A bunch of graves are for soldiers of the War of 1812, and if I’m not mistaken there are some which are older than that. A lot of the tombstones have worn right away so you can just barely or can no longer make out what they say. They have signs up in it as you go along talking about the War of 1812 and about the old graves, like a historic tourist spot would. The city makes an effort to preserve some of the old tombstones now, like covering them in the winter and in bad weather.

I thought having totally open graveyards like that was strange at first, but it really does make them a whole lot less, I dunno, creepy, you know? They tell you not to go off the path unless you’re visiting a specific grave, and also that you don’t let your dogs pee on the gravestones, but other than that it’s like one of the city gardens or something. And a tourist spot.

Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is very much like that. All Milwaukee’s brewers and business bigwigs–Valentin Blatz, Joseph Schlitz, Frederick Pabst, William Davidson (of Harley-Davidson), as well as General William “Billy” Mitchell are all buried there. The cemetery also has a walking tour and a “who’s who” section in the chapel.

I’m looking across the bonus room above my garage and out that window at (eye level) a Colonial/Revolutionary War era cemetery with 300 or so burials. According to one of the websites that track these things (findagrave.com) – the earliest burial was 1768, latest around 1910 (eyeball scanning the lists). VERY quiet neighbors, only creepy bit has been people visiting around Halloween telling ghost stories – if my windows are open I can hear indistinct voices but can’t SEE anyone between the headstones and the trees blocking the view.

If anyone gets out to Hawaii – There is a Pacific equivalent to Arlington – but unlike Arlington no ‘raised’ headstones – VERY park-like and soothing.


Amending the above – another look thru the list expanded the range from 1750 to 1935 for my immediate neighbors.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific — also known as the Punchbowl due to its shape; it’s sited in the caldera of an extinct volcano. I first heard of it when it was used in scenes from the original (1968) Hawaii Five-O.

Where I live we have numerous graveyards, one on the edge of the original city and now in an old, shabby suburb, contains several graves of important people, one of whom was instrumental in getting women the vote in New Zealand. Me and my brother often wave or say hi as we go past. It only seems fair, seeing as she shares a plot and a small headstone with three other people.

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