My trips to Madison, Mississippi to visit with Glenn and Bill are usually "hit and run". We arrive late afternoon, have dinner, visit, go to bed and then Sammie Cat and I are up and out early on the road the next morning. This trip was different. Our early afternon arrival meant that there was a treat in store for me...a visit to the Chapel of the Cross.
Bill filled me in on the history of this gothic revival chapel and the families who birthed it between 1850 and 1852. It was modeled on the 14th Century English Country Churches where they are worshipping Episcopalians.
When we arrived the chapel was locked, but we were undaunted. The outside of the chapel and the cemetery provided ample photo opportunities and a chance to see the tombs of the founders first hand: The Johnstone Family, Henry Grey Vick, and many more. It is also said to be haunted.
One of the most interesting tidbits that Bill shared was that the congregation of the church actually digs the graves by hand. Now me, I'm thinking bare hands but it turns out that shovels are used.
It seemed to be a wonderful way to show respect to the dead of the community while facing the grief of passing. Once the grave is finished, a nice bottle of whiskey is passed between the participants and the sign of the cross is made in whiskey over the grave to signify the end of the dig.
Stories are wonderful. I'd heard my share. There was one of those moments-sometimes they say that "someone walked over my grave"...I was standing at the back of the cemetery looking toward the back of the chapel when the other side pulled in a moment of very deep peace for me.
Bill, Glenn and I were heading back to the car when a huge white truck pulled up. The driver teased: "Hey, you can't take pictures around here!" I still feel like a criminal even when people are teasing. Bud Phelps got out of the truck and story-time was over...well, almost.