The house where I spent my teens in Kentucky was next to a cemetery. About half of it (the graveyard, not my house) was occupied while I lived there, and the neighborhood kids and I would play football in a vacant, tree-lined quadrant by the access road during the autumn. I’d go for walks there on afternoons sometimes, sitting and thinking, sometimes writing poems.
Occasionally, people would ask us if it was creepy living there, but that was never the case. As my dad told me when I was young, and as time taught me further, the dead are harmless — it’s the living we must fear. So instead we made the usual jokes about people dying to get into the neighborhood and such, and we had a running joke about being stuffed into a Hefty bag and tossed over the back fence onto consecrated ground when the time came. Occasionally, we’d see the funeral home canopies go up and comment that we were getting new neighbors.
But of course, there was the serious aspect of it as well. At least two of my high school classmates are buried there now, and there may have been more since my folks died. I also know that at least once, my dad helped a neighbor dig a grave for his own son, who had died in a farming accident — for some reason, the regular groundskeepers were unavailable or too expensive. There was a certain aspect of memento mori to the landscape.
In any case, the population will be rising, as the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a cemetery in a different part of the city is being turned into a housing development, and the remains will be relocated to the graveyard behind my old house. The funny part to me is that they start the story by talking about the cemetery behind my house — not the one that’s being relocated.
Is that what they mean by burying the lede?