taken from
Melville O. Briney's  "Fond Recollection."

"Another trip we made at Christmastime was to Cave Hill Cemetery.  Dan, the coachman, drove us in the carriage, and the horse stopped to rest a little while before he tackled the Broadway hill. Our grandmother always spoke of this as 'going to the graveyard.' 

There was , however, nothing at all lugubrious about these expeditions.  As we helped spread the evergreens on the graves in the family lot, she talked to us quite cheerfully about the ones who were there; what they had looked like; what they had done; and what games the children had played.  We got to know them well, and to feel that they, too, might still be coming to her house for Christmas dinner.

Sometimes she spoke of the two white bearded old gentlemen-- our grandfather and his brother-- who had worked together all their lives; built houses just alike side by side; and even dressed alike 'because they were so devoted to each other.' Sometimes she talked of a young man cousin,' cut off in his early manhood,' or 'the sweet girl graduate' who, in her Victorian parlance, had 'simply faded like a flower.' But the one who fascinated us most was Uncle Cassie.  He was our grandmother's second son, and though he died at the age of five, we nonetheless spoke of him respectfully as 'uncle.' Uncle Cassie, quite literally, had tasted forbidden fruit. He had eaten raisins, hundreds and hundreds of them.  And, ' by nightfall, he was gone.'  We later heard our mother say that it was 'undoubtedly acute appendicitis.' But for years, we spooned the raisins out of our rice pudding, taking no chances.

Once, at Cave Hill, it began to snow, and we climbed back into the carriage which was still warm and smelled of the pine branches.  Our grandmother took our hand, and we sat watching the big soft flakes settle on the wings of the marble angels and cover the feet of the little carved lambs that marked the children's graves.  The gray lake turned to coal black, and the white swans swam on through the swirling snowstorm.  And that time, we felt Christmas as much as on the real morning.  But because the horse was getting cold, Dan said,'Giddap,' and we had to go home."

(December 23,1954)


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