I hang out at old graveyards sometimes. And I homeschooled my three sons. But stay with me, now, the two are connected.
The county in which we farm/ranch was opened for homesteading in 1892 in an event called a land run. Homesteaders raced to stake out the best claims, and soon, nearly every quarter-section of land (160 acres) in our county was homesteaded. People built homes, roads, schools, and had families, but then they began to learn western Oklahoma weather was a grinding, deadly force. Many of the homesteaders fought a losing battle with the hot summer winds that shriveled the crops in the fields and dried up water supplies, and the bitter winter winds that killed their livestock, their children, and them.
Little by little the population thinned as the homesteaders departed for friendlier country, leaving only crumbling dreams–and the dead–behind. Isolated and forgotten cemeteries abound in this area. The two cemeteries I visited today began to see use around 1900. Some of the dead had been born before the Civil War, but many were children and babies. Lots of them.
When I visit those quiet cemeteries, I imagine the hopes and dreams buried there. And while I can’t say I enjoy graveyards–not in the accepted sense of the word–they are peaceful.
So, why, I hear y’all asking, did you develop this morbid fascination with cemeteries, Danni?
Hello? The answer is obvious.
I homeschooled my three sons and I needed a place to go where NOBODY WOULD BOTHER ME!
As I stumbled around through the grave stones, I could put my problems in perspective. The twitching hands of my imagination gradually fell away from the throat of the son whose test question might have looked like this:
Ulysses S Grant was a general in which war: (a) War of 1812 (b) Civil War (c)War on Drugs.
C is circled.
No, my boys weren’t that bad. Not by the time they graduated, anyway. If they had been, I might have laid down in the chicken bus and just went ahead and let my hens peck me to death.
You may be thinking, “This lady is one cracked pot,” but I prefer to think I merely enjoy a dark sense of humor. The McGriffith clan is known for dark humor. (And crackpots, too, if you must know, but that’s beside the point.)
Two small examples: The young McGriffith boys’ favorite song when they were growing up was Garth Brooks Mama’s In the Graveyard, Papa’s in the Pen. And son #3 had a joke he shared with his grandpa, Earnest, on a regular basis.
He’d walk up to his gramps and say, “There were two maggots fightin’ in dead Earnest.”
That was it, punchline and all. Both of them laughed uproariously every time.
My goodness, with senses of humor like that, don’t let anybody ever say homeschooled kids aren’t socialized.
So, my advice to all you homeschool
moms teachers out there in the rural areas of our great country: Just after the quiz–but right before you snap–run, drive, or ride your horse over to a lonely hilltop cemetery somewhere. Let the wind blow through what’s left of your hair for a while.
Enjoy the silence.
God bless all y’all and enjoy the Peasall Sisters (homeschooled, I believe) doing an awesome job singing, Where No One Stands Alone
*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ’em.