You'd think a person could have a peaceful interlude at the cemetery to center oneself, to reconnect with emotion and memories of a departed loved one, to speak aloud softy (it's a CEMETERY, by cracky!) the hopes and fears one might have discussed with that loved one if given the opportunity in life.
Not in Backroads. Especially not if you're Val.
I was headed to town to pick up some chips for The Pony. Never mind that I had just been in Save-A-Lot the day before. In fact, that is what spearheaded the trip. The four new Lay's Potato Chip flavors are out now, you know. Chinese Szechuan Chicken (inspired by Sichuan peppers), Brazilian Picanha (skewered-grilled steak with chimichurri sauce), Wavy Greek Tzatziki (flavored with dill, garlic and other spices) and Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala (a tomato-based dish with tumeric and cumin).
When I saw those chips, I picked up a bag of the Wavy Greek Tzatziki, and the Brazilian Picanha. I figured The Pony would like the first because it looked something like Sour Cream and Onion, and the second because it had little meat skewers pictured on the bag that looked like steak.
The Pony loved the Brazilian Picanha. I had one (ONE! you CAN eat just one Lay's Potato Chip!) and thought it was great. So The Pony asked me to get more, because if this contest is anything like the old ones, there will be the best flavor that can never be found. Even though we did not open the Greek ones yet, The Pony wanted me to grab a bag each of the Indian Tikka Masala (because he's heard about this dish on the cooking shows) and the Chinese Szechuan Chicken (because Hick likes him some spicy Chinese food).
Chip mission accomplished, I decided to run by the cemetery. I usually go once a week, but last week there was a funeral a couple of plots over, and the next time we were in a hurry and took a different route back home. It's only a couple miles from the gas station chicken store. And I have all the time in the world now that I'm RETIRED. So off I went.
Pretty sure I've mentioned the convenience of Mom's plot. The row right next to the road, so I can do a drive-thru visit. I pulled over and parked. It's on the wrong side of that blacktop lane that winds through the memorial park. But it's not like there's a rush hour. The only traffic I see is the grounds crew sometimes, and they're not on the roads.
I had just parked and rolled down the window and put Satellite/XM on the Prime Country station. Mom always liked that, so I'd tune it in when I picked her up for our monthly bill-paying Friday excursions. She'd tap her hand on her thigh and say, "This is REALLY good music." I noticed that the flowers put there by my sister the ex-mayor's wife were gone. Gone! They had not even been in a metal holder, like the one that got ripped-off by lowlife scrap metal thieves. Only in a plastic holder, set upon the long engraved marker (no headstones in this joint) next to the screw-in plastic holder that was the purloined one's official replacement. I made a mental note to let Sis know. Along with the fact that the flowers The Pony and I had put there still remained.
In the side mirror, I saw a gray sedan coming down the road behind me. I followed it in the rearview mirror, then picked it up with my peripheral vision as it pulled up alongside T-Hoe's passenger door. And stopped. I did NOT turn my head. No siree, Bob! I'd learned my lesson the day before with that air hose doofus! Do not engage. I turned my attention back out my window to my mom and dad's plot. I was in the middle of a one-sided conversation already, you know.
Gray Sedan s l o w l y rolled on down the road. Turned right. A direction where there is nothing much except a road that branches off for the groundskeeping crew. The main road continues around to the right, back to where a
Gray Sedan stopped. Backed up. Sat there perpendicular to T-Hoe, at the bottom of my road. Like when that crazy Michael Myers in the original Halloween stopped the stolen station wagon and backed up after Jamie Lee Curtis's friend hollered, "Hey, jerk! Speed kills!" I assure you that I hollered nothing. But the lady behind the wheel was looking at me through her passenger window.
Something is taken away from the mourning experience when you are being watched. I swear, I had not even been there THREE MINUTES when Gray Sedan Lady decided I was in the way of her I Can't Wait mission to do her own mourning. Seriously. What's the rush? They're not going anywhere.
It's just like when you get there early for your 9:00 a.m. doctor's appointment, and you're the only person in the waiting room, and the next patient signs in and sits in the chair right next to you, eschewing the other 29 empties simply yearning for a butt to fulfill them.
I told Mom I'd be back another time to spend longer, and started up T-Hoe. Put him in gear as Gray Sedan started back toward me. Went by on my right, because after all, I was there first, and was on the wrong side of that deserted lane. In my mirror, I saw Gray sedan pull over behind where I'd been. A lady got out and started walking across the plots. Like she couldn't have done that with me sitting there.
I can't figure out why the GPS coordinates I inhabit are always the place to be.