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 husband’s side of the family. That’s how I found myself with my sister, Tammy, out in the boondocks doing some investigating. She isn’t into genealogy. I had to stretch the truth and say I was going to visit my in-laws’ graves and would like her to come along for the ride. When she heard what I had planned, she said, “Okay, Jenny, but I’m driving. You’re like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. when you get behind the wheel.” 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, “Hi, Grace and Alvin. Gary and I miss you. So do your grandchildren. Save us a place at the Lord’s table. We’ll be there someday.”
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. “I found some information on the internet saying there’s an old family plot right across the road from here. Gary’s great great-grandparents are buried there.”
My sister squinted her eyes. “Jenny…”
“I said I was coming to visit my in-laws. Those people are my great, great grandparents-in-law.”
She sighed. “Well, that’s a stretch.” She shielded her eyes against the sun and pointed across the road. “Wait. Over there?”
“All I see is a corn field.”
“But I think it’s there,” I replied, starting across the road. “It’s one of those old unmarked cemeteries.”
When I reached the other side of the road, I looked across the rows of corn, still not seeing anything. “I’m going to look closer.”
“For goodness sake,” Tammy said. “You can’t just traipse across that field. It’s probably trespassing.”
“I don’t know where the farmer lives so I can’t ask his permission.”
“I’m not doing this. I’ll go back and drive the get-away car.”
I grabbed her arm. “You have to stay here in case I fall and get a concussion or something.”
She rolled her eyes.
A horrible stench assaulted my nose when I stepped forward. “Ew.”
“Gag. It’s coming from there,” Tammy said, pointing to the trench in front of me.
“Guess I’ll hold my nose and climb across this ditch.”
“Ditch?’ Tammy said, incredulously. “That’s the Grand Canyon. You’ll break your neck trying to cross it. And that smell. A herd of skunks must’ve had a flatulence contest.”
“Look, we’ve come all the way out here and my information says the graveyard’s right out there. I’m going.”
“All right, stubborn.”
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 wasn’t letting that stop me. When I put my hands on the ground, my fingers touched thick, gooey mud. “Ew,” I said again. In this position, my derriere was up in the air. My cute sister snapped a picture.
“I better not see that on Facebook,” 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. “Oh no you don’t, you sorry vampire. I really don’t know why Noah made room for your ancestors on the ark.” Smacking it soundly, I sent it to Mosquito Heaven.
Tammy squealed. “There’s mosquitos as big as helicopters out here. You better find this graveyard fast.”
“I’m trying,” 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 I’d bumped into, I found a gray stone partially buried in the dirt.
Brushing the dirt aside, I could barely make out some engravings. “Hey! I found a headstone.”
“Here’s more,” Tammy said, walking toward more half-hidden headstones. “Look. I can still read this one. It says Jacob Porter. Jen, I think that’s Randy’s great, great grandfather.”
I examined another headstone. “I can’t make all of this one out, but it’s definitely a Porter. Probably your husband’s family.”
Tammy ran her hand gently across the rough stone. “Wow, Randy’s going to be excited. Honestly, I am, too. This is my great, great grandfather-in-law.”
Heavens. I’ve created a monster.
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