I Love New Mexico

About all things New Mexican

Posted by bunnyterry on February - 1 - 2010 | 6 Comments

Anniston Cemetery - view to the east

I know, I know. Cemeteries are a weird thing to love. But I just can’t help it.

There are probably a hundred different reasons that I love cemeteries. I’m a history buff, so it stands to reason that I’d love a venue that has such rich history and so many different stories. I enjoy being outdoors (don’t all New Mexicans?) and I like the peace and quiet of a cemetery.

I once wrote a short story entitled “Cemetery Fighting.” It wasn’t so much about fighting in the cemetery as it was about how I would run away to the cemetery after I had a huge ugly yelling- throwing-things fight with my husband in North Carolina. Our arguments were filled with such venom (he HATED that I was homesick for New Mexico, I hated that his only skill was drinking himself into oblivion – go figure) that I had to get away to the quietest, calmest place available, and in North Carolina there was a cemetery around every corner.

That was one of my favorite things about the south – that ready availability of a cemetery through which to wander. Whereas New Mexicans tend to congregate their deceased in community cemeteries maintained by municipalities, every church in the South that had cemeteries for all their parishioners. And with a Baptist church on every corner, that made for a heck of a lot of cemeteries.

So, yeah, I love a good cemetery, especially somewhere rural and desolate and filled with headstones carved at the turn of the last century. I love the cemetery in Cimarron, New Mexico with the hazy purple mountains in the distance. I love the cemetery at Logan for its windmill in the corner and its lack of perpetual care. There are yuccas and cedar trees and a view to the Revelto Creek and the graves of my Aunt Ruby and Uncle T.H. I love the cemetery in Glenwood Springs, Colorado – Doc Holliday is buried there, along with the victims of an 1863 mine accident after which they segregated the cemetery and buried all the blacks in one distant corner.

The Babies

Last week Dave and I drove over to the Anniston Cemetery between Logan and San Jon. I’ve been working on a post entitled “24 miles from Logan to San Jon” that keeps wandering away from me. I want to talk about how the one road I’ve traveled my entire life always holds a surprise – a view I hadn’t noticed before, or a field of antelopes, or a mesa in the distance about which I’d forgotten. But I can’t seem to get the post from draft form to completion simply because so many individual portions of the road distract me. Like the turnoff to the Anniston Cemetery.

I can’t tell you much about the history of the Anniston Cemetery, except that the oldest grave is pre 1900 and the newest is from 2005. I’ve always gone there with family – first as a child and then in the last ten to twenty years with my dad whenever we’d drive over to his old home place in Porter. The Anniston Cemetery is two miles east of the road from Logan to San Jon. There’s a sign that I’m sure you’ve all driven past hundreds of time. Now there’s a barbed wire gate, but there’s no restriction to the public. You drive over a rutted dirt road and then turn back a quarter mile to the south and you’re at the cemetery.

My uncle Henry is buried there, along with a couple of his babies, and the babies of my Aunt Rhoda and my Aunt Janie. These are babies born in the thirties, one set of twins that my Aunt Janie lost to pneumonia at less than six months. The stones are hand-carved and worn away, so much so that’s it nearly impossible to tell who’s who.

I’ve posted some pictures. If you need a quiet peaceful place to go after a particularly grueling day, or if you just want to get a closer look at that bluff on the east side of the road that you’ve seen in the distance for years, take the time to leave the road and take a look. It’s a great place to recover your senses Or open them up.

Anniston Cemetery - View to the North Jan 2010

6 Responses so far.

  1. It’s right beside you. Don’t let her go. Or maybe it’s a he. In any case or gender, don’t let the muse get too far away. I do see her in this piece. “24 miles…!” Let her rip! I hope to read it one day. Best of luck, Jack.

  2. I am very selective in what blogs I put on my blogroll. Because of this piece and the post on the UNM theater, I want your work associated with my blogroll. I have just entered your blog on my site. There is good writing in the blogsphere. But, then, there is writing that is art, like yours.

    Jack Matthews
    Mingus, Texas
    Sage to Meadow Word Press

  3. I hated the idea that you were going to New York, (even though your presence there benefits me greatly) because I assumed that you wouldn’t be blogging and I am addicted. I look for new posts every single morning, and you continue blogging from New York! Thank you for not making me go through withdrawals. Your words are lyrical, my friend.

  4. I can see what you mean. There is that certain quality about cemeteries. I don’t think thats morbid. This post vaguely reminded me of the book “Animal Dreams” by Barbara Kingsolver. You should read it if you haven’t already.

  5. Vicky says:

    Hey Bun, glad you’re home from NY. I know you had a great time. So enjoyed your piece on the Anniston cemetery. It’s been a very long time since I was out there. As you said I’ve driven by many times, just didn’t take the time to stop. Thanks for a great story..

  6. Ben says:

    You’ve done it again – painted a picture with your words. I love the history of home and the NE corner of New Mexico – the cemeteries, the Church of Immaculate Conception at Gallegos, the Bookmobile. . . I can remember the smell of green chilis roasting on Labor Day and the times we sat outside on my deck watching the beautiful sunsets over the lake. Keep it going!

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