Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
- TITLE: In-laws Wanted Dead or Alive
By Betty Castleberry
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I should mention I love genealogy and have been researching my husbandâ€™s side of the family. Thatâ€™s how I found myself with my sister, Tammy, out in the boondocks doing some investigating. She isnâ€™t into genealogy. I had to stretch the truth and say I was going to visit my in-lawsâ€™ graves and would like her to come along for the ride. When she heard what I had planned, she said, â€œOkay, Jenny, but Iâ€™m driving. Youâ€™re like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. when you get behind the wheel.â€ Exactly the reaction I wanted. I hate driving.
When we reached the cemetery. I stood respectfully at the resting places of my in-laws and said, â€œHi, Grace and Alvin. Gary and I miss you. So do your grandchildren. Save us a place at the Lordâ€™s table. Weâ€™ll be there someday.â€
Tammy stood beside me, fiddling with her fingernails. That was my signal to make it short.
Instead of breaking it to her gently, I plowed right into my plan. â€œI found some information on the internet saying thereâ€™s an old family plot right across the road from here. Garyâ€™s great great-grandparents are buried there.â€
My sister squinted her eyes. â€œJennyâ€¦â€
â€œI said I was coming to visit my in-laws. Those people are my great, great grandparents-in-law.â€
She sighed. â€œWell, thatâ€™s a stretch.â€ She shielded her eyes against the sun and pointed across the road. â€œWait. Over there?â€
â€œAll I see is a corn field.â€
â€œBut I think itâ€™s there,â€ I replied, starting across the road. â€œItâ€™s one of those old unmarked cemeteries.â€
When I reached the other side of the road, I looked across the rows of corn, still not seeing anything. â€œIâ€™m going to look closer.â€
â€œFor goodness sake,â€ Tammy said. â€œYou canâ€™t just traipse across that field. Itâ€™s probably trespassing.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know where the farmer lives so I canâ€™t ask his permission.â€
â€œIâ€™m not doing this. Iâ€™ll go back and drive the get-away car.â€
I grabbed her arm. â€œYou have to stay here in case I fall and get a concussion or something.â€
She rolled her eyes.
A horrible stench assaulted my nose when I stepped forward. â€œEw.â€
â€œGag. Itâ€™s coming from there,â€ Tammy said, pointing to the trench in front of me.
â€œGuess Iâ€™ll hold my nose and climb across this ditch.â€
â€œDitch?â€™ Tammy said, incredulously. â€œThatâ€™s the Grand Canyon. Youâ€™ll break your neck trying to cross it. And that smell. A herd of skunks mustâ€™ve had a flatulence contest.â€
â€œLook, weâ€™ve come all the way out here and my information says the graveyardâ€™s right out there. Iâ€™m going.â€
â€œAll right, stubborn.â€
The ditch was deeper than I thought. I was going to have to climb down on all fours and crawl back up the other side, but I wasnâ€™t letting that stop me. When I put my hands on the ground, my fingers touched thick, gooey mud. â€œEw,â€ I said again. In this position, my derriere was up in the air. My cute sister snapped a picture.
â€œI better not see that on Facebook,â€ I said when I had conquered the ditch.
Pushing my way through the field, I felt the tall green stalks swishing against me. I looked down just in time to see a mosquito feasting on my arm. â€œOh no you donâ€™t, you sorry vampire. I really donâ€™t know why Noah made room for your ancestors on the ark.â€ Smacking it soundly, I sent it to Mosquito Heaven.
Tammy squealed. â€œThereâ€™s mosquitos as big as helicopters out here. You better find this graveyard fast.â€
â€œIâ€™m trying,â€ I said.
Suddenly, someone whacked my toe with a baseball bat. Actually, I stubbed it, but the pain was the same. When I looked to see what Iâ€™d bumped into, I found a gray stone partially buried in the dirt.
Brushing the dirt aside, I could barely make out some engravings. â€œHey! I found a headstone.â€
â€œHereâ€™s more,â€ Tammy said, walking toward more half-hidden headstones. â€œLook. I can still read this one. It says Jacob Porter. Jen, I think thatâ€™s Randyâ€™s great, great grandfather.â€
I examined another headstone. â€œI canâ€™t make all of this one out, but itâ€™s definitely a Porter. Probably your husbandâ€™s family.â€
Tammy ran her hand gently across the rough stone. â€œWow, Randyâ€™s going to be excited. Honestly, I am, too. This is my great, great grandfather-in-law.â€
Heavens. Iâ€™ve created a monster.
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