280/365 Dad’s Cemetery Tale

One of the many stories my father liked to tell people was one that haunts me still. For years my mom would make me leave the room when Dad started telling the story, or shush him if I couldn’t leave.

As a kid in farm country, young Elvin took some odd-jobs in his community to earn spending money. One was warming the schoolhouse in the winter by feeding the coal furnace before the teacher and other pupils arrived. Another was caretaker of the old cemetery across the street from the schoolhouse. Dad would cut the grass and tidy up the graves.

He was happy doing this until he noticed clumps of what looked like hair near the graves. When he asked an adult about it they told him was caused by rodents: rats, mice or chipmunks, who’d gotten into the coffins and pulled off the hair of corpses to make their nests.