So, Mrs. Wigglebottom and I were on our way to the Cedars of Lebanon State Park to see if their e. tennesseensis was as beautiful as ours when I realized that I really wanted to go back to the Bend instead. So, we did. And I thought, I’m not going back in to the Barnes Cemetery, on the off-chance it was it that cursed me with my five annoying plagues this week. But, I thought, I could at least walk around the outside and see if I can spot the unmarked slave cemetery that’s supposed to be near there.
(There’s a discrepency, it seems to me, between where the May Town Center people have it on their maps and where Zada Law has it on hers).
And who was sitting outside the cemetery with their mowing equipment parked under the big tree while they ate their lunch?
There was a kid and who I took to be his dad. They had white skin. They stayed off by the truck. And then there were two very old men, with ancient overalls and white hair and steel grey eyes and skin the color of a lead pencil. I tried very hard not to stare, but I have never seen skin that color. I can see why that 1910 census-taker struggled to figure out how to classify the Barnes family, since they don’t, just by looking, fit into any of the racial categories we get drilled into our heads in this country.
Anyway, there they were, sitting on the trailer of the mowers, eating their bologna and cheese sandwiches, and so I went up and asked them about whether there was a slave cemetery near the Barnes cemetery and they asked who I was and I said “Betsy Phillips,” but he repeated my name as Becky so I was like, yeah, okay, I can’t write about this at Pith, because I can’t make this guy even understand my name. It was weird to realize that my accent was getting in the way. So, I didn’t ask him or his brother anything about their feelings about May Town Center. I didn’t think it’d be fair, since I couldn’t be sure they’d understand who I was.
But he told me about the cemeteries in the Bend! He said that there’s not a slave cemetery right up by the Barnes cemetery, but it’s at the bottom of the hill, under the trees. I think that means that neither map I’ve seen of the area is right, then, because I would have never, had I just been alone, looked for it that far away from the Barnes cemetery.
And that there’s another slave cemetery in the park, which he and his brother helped the folks who marked it with their GPS markers find and mark out, and an old settler’s cemetery, which he’s not sure has been surveyed.
I was going to take the dog over to try to see the slave cemetery in the park, but it’s so damn hot, and I wanted to come home and write this out.
He said something about the slave cemetery. He said, “It’s going to be in a park, with this cemetery. They promised me.”
I’ll say this–everyone I’ve talked to about the Bend cares so deeply for it that it stops you short.
I really hope, no matter what happens, that, if the Bend is developed, it is developed by people who care about it half as much as the people who live out there do.
Well, I went out to survey the garden after the crazy week.
The bad news is that nothing, not even nm’s okra want to grow at the one end of the watermelon patch. Fair enough. And the peppers are a little, um, unhappy, to put it mildly. And we aren’t going to have any beans or corn. That went like shit.
But, and it’s a big but…
The tomatoes are gangbusters. They’re all “Hey, some of us grow upright. Some of us are just going to lay down here in the yard. Some of us are going to stretch into the peppers.” It’s crazy. I tried to tie them up better, but they are up to my chest. I can’t even remember how many times I thought I killed them and they are taking over my garden.
And the crawling stuff? Holy shit. I have pumpkin vines with leaves so big you half expect a dinosaur egg under them. They’re stretching across the garden. They’re stretching across the yard. It’s craziness. Next year, I may only grow viny things, I’m finding it so satisfying.
As for the flowers, nothing I planted from seed (with the exception of the marigolds) except for one morning glory and one alyssum has amounted to diddly squat.
Am I a failure as a flower planter? Hmm. I think so.
But as a vine grower? Don’t even try to stop me. I am that good.
Also, the herbs all look good, except for the chamomile, which I planted last week. But I didn’t have any luck with the chamomile I planted at the old place, either. Maybe it just doesn’t grow well here.
And we’ve got to get the yard cleaned up, but it is just so fucking hot out that a person about can’t stand to be out there.