Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

We had an interesting weekend. On Saturday we attended the memorial service for Josh’s grandfather, and Josh did a great job of delivering a eulogy. It was so special to hear testimony of Josh’s grandfather’s faith, humor, and love for his family. While he will be deeply missed, there was so much joy at the knowledge that he is with his Savior now.

Yesterday we all caravaned up to a little town north of Ft. Wayne where Josh’s grandmother grew up, and where Josh’s grandparents had long ago purchased a grave plot. It was really neat to wander around and see how many generations of Hardings (Josh’s grandmother’s family) were buried there. The earliest were born in the early 1800s.
Somehow Josh’s uncle had gotten permission for us to bury the ashes ourselves. I mean, that’s a little strange, but not THAT strange, and it seemed like a good thing to do for closure and so forth. Luckily before we left Josh’s brother’s house, someone remembered that this was going to require shovels. Josh and I hadn’t thought of that, so good thing there were extras. The only digging implement we had in the car was a plastic spoon from Wendy’s and that would have made for slow going. Our nephew and neice were taken aback by the declaration that Grandpa was in the trunk of my father-in-law’s car. Zach remarked that we looked like a bunch of mobsters with all the shovels and a body in the trunk. 🙂
Once the gravestone was located, the box of ashes was carefully placed to measure for the hole. Apparently regulations require that the hole be three feet deep. Above you can see Josh beginning to dig. The hole was quickly dug since there were so many relatives there and lots of shovels. At one point though, my father-in-law’s shovel made a CLANG!

“What is that?”

“Oh, it’s just a rock.”

“Pretty big rock.”

“It looks kind of shiny.”

“Um, maybe it’s the foundation of the gravestone.”

“A foundation for a gravestone? Three feet deep? Right.”

As the shovels uncovered more of the unknown obstacle, the truth began to dawn on us all. The obstacle was not a rock. It was not a foundation. It was not a stray bit of wood, or a tree root, or a fossil, or a long-lost Indian arrowhead or anything else that might just casually be several feet underground in a graveyard.


Yes way.

Yes, yes, we absolutely did. The unthinkable. We UNBURIED somebody!
It turns out that the casket we accidentally dug up belonged to Corporal Hudson Hays, God rest his soul. For some strange reason we cannot fathom, the good Corporal was buried BEHIND his gravestone, right up in front of Grandpa’s gravestone. I guess 45 years ago when the Corporal was first interred, Grandpa’s gravestone wasn’t there, and I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. So yeah, we dug him up. Not all the way of course, but more than enough of the way. Good thing it wasn’t the middle of the night or people might have started asking questions! Talk about gangsters, here we were digging up graves!
Sooooo, the good Corporal was hastily re-buried (hopefully his relatives won’t notice!) and a new hole was dug for Grandpa. Behind his gravestone. So weird. I mean, isn’t that counterintuitive? Anyway, above Josh and our nephew Zach dig the new hole, while our niece Maddie and their mother Jen look on.

After the ashes were laid to rest, we sang “Blessed Assurance” in lovely four part harmony and Josh’s uncle said a prayer thanking God for Grandpa’s life and impact on us. It really was a Gillespie family moment – a good mix of humor and faith.

Josh and Hannah cavorting
Hannah and her cousin Madalyn (Maddie)
After the burial, we drove over to the farm where Josh’s grandmother grew up. It was very pretty, although many of the old buildings my father-in-law remembered from childhood visits are gone now.

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