My friends take such good care of me! In spite of Bud's teasing, Bill leaned into the truck window and asked: "Our friend is here from New Orleans. Do you think you could open the Chapel so she could see the inside?" Bud was happy to oblige, but reminded us that there really was no picture taking inside. He also shared that there would be a grave-digging a little later that afternoon, and invited us back.
We didn't need much encouragement. We headed off to have a little late lunch and then stopped back at the house on the way so Glenn and Bill could get some of Glenn's cards to share. Glenn is an accomplished pointillist artist who works mostly in pen and ink. The Chapel had been one of his many subjects that he'd captured on cards, but was unable to find back at the house. Instead, Glenn brought an actually drawing to share with Bud as a thank you.
The Grave Diggers Guild was hard at work upon our return.
We found Bud easily. Glenn shared his gift, and Bud teased: "Now I'm sorry I didn't let you take pictures in the chapel!" I wandered around and visited with people. It was so clearly a celebration of life and community. Of course, I couldn't resist. I asked Bud if I could help? This time I got a "yes", and...
...grave-digger Laury was born!
In spite of the hard work, there was a sense of belonging. I've always said that I don't need a spot in the ground, I expect my ashes to be out there floating free in the universe. I still do, but if I were to go for underground...this would be it for me. The symbol, the celebration, the community, the involvement of friends and family, and the genuine love and care that were shown; removed the mystique and brought out the true meaning of passing over.
We didn't stay for the whiskey. It had already been quite a day of new and old friendships and meant to be surprises! Huge thanks to Bud Phelps and the Grave Diggers Guild of the Chapel of the Cross in Madison, MS for sharing their celebration of tradition, spirit and community.