Our friend Tom from Texas (aka The Mad Hatter) is visiting us and we are just having a blast sharing stories. Like myself, Tom is a wonderful story teller, and knows how to put those stories in words.
He shared with us a wonderful story of his memories of "Apple Pie". I've shared it below. I hope you enjoy his memory of Cemetery Apple Pie as much as we did.
Cemetery Apple Pie ~ Tom Hampton
My sisters and I rode in the back seat as Dad drove by the cemetery. The question came slyly as they always did. " Do you know why there is a fence
around that place?...people are
just dying to get in."
Not only was I born to a strange
family, but also at a strange time. My formative years happened during a short period of peace. I was but a toddler during the Korean Conflict and was nearly a teenager before our government made a serious commitment to Vietnam
The National Cemetery is only a few blocks from my childhood home. It served as an American
History Primer as it taught me lessons making me thirst for answers.
It was a short bicycle ride from home. Here you could finish your root beer from the nearby A&W. Later it would be a place to steal a kiss as the sun went down.
Could there be a greater place for solitude? It was quiet here among all these dead soldiers.
It was here I developed an awe and reverence for such places.
While many tourist visited
"Points of Interests" , it was not unusual to find me traipsing through graveyards all over the globe. I was thirty when I read
"Thomas Wade Hampton on a stone in North Carolina . I felt an immediate connection .
Springfield's monument to the war dead was unique. Granite and bronze depicts soldiers from both sides of the Civil War.
Walk through this history book and see the pages turn.
Nathaniel Lyons and Sterling Price still stand looking over fallen comrades. Each held the rank of General on opposite sides. Now and forever they stand as sentinels in this holy place.
A half dozen Buffalo Soldiers are here in a place that most black men could not be interned. Nearby is a memorial to the unknown Confederate Soldier.
The Battle of Wilson Creek was fought just a few miles from this place. The Rostrum here holds a bronze plaque honoring the 501 "Rebs" who died there.
More recent wars are recognized too. There is even a
Revolutionary War Veteran transplanted here through a series of events.
So much U.S. history is behind those stone walls, and yet it is the story of us that completes this story.
Just inside the southwest corner of the cemetery lived two apple trees . I didn't notice them as a child, but the pie maker in our house did. Mom would send kids, grandkids and even great grandkids to pick and pick up this fresh produce.
I think it is great that the sons of those first grandsons still place their feet under the pie maker's table.
I don't know the origin of the trees. Whimsically, perhaps Johnny Appleseed was the source. Romantically I choose
to think: an older couple visiting
a lost son sat at the end of their days. It was hope buried in that plot. The project of their lives over. They wanted to do something to change the world.
After goodbyes were said they perched themselves on the wall
to eat lunch preparing for the long walk home. They left behind the apple cores that became our trees. How simply do we change history. They thought all they left behind was death, they left life. It extended into the 21st century!
Who doesn't have memories of
Mom's apple pie? These had a crust Sara Lee wished she could make. The fruit had never seen cold storage and the relationship with the world made it all the sweeter.
A few years ago, an ice storm
took one tree and last year time and wind took the other. A reminder that life comes to an end, no matter how sweet.
There is no marker to note their existence. So let this article be the tombstone to commemorate Cemetery Pie!