Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Weirdo

 I think everyone has a story. Nothing is more fascinating to me than reading those stories, or better yet hearing those stories from their own lips. But (in case you haven't figured it out already) I'm a bit of a weirdo. Inanimate objects have stories too, even if, for the most part, we'll never know them. 

For instance, along a river, near the crumbling gate posts of a long gone mansion along the river, there is a rock, a large rock where the old driveway turned to the house. People have hiked that walk many times, paying no attention to that rock, but it has a story. Back in 1852 or thereabouts a 13 year old boy sat there waiting for his father after a hunt, fiddling with a gun and accidently shot himself dead. 

Up in our garage, we have a large piece of hand hewn beamwork that came from a house built in 1860. The cool thing about this beam is that it has been repurposed, probably from an old barn. You can see the old holes where the beams were pegged together in their previous life. Now...if you figure that the barn stood for 30 years, you take that history back to 1800. However, these beams are massive things. I'm easily looking at something that grew prior to the Revolutionary War, back before this area was settled, back when it was home to the Seneca Nation, which was part of the Iroquois confederacy. And when I touch this beam, I think of the hands that hewed it.  I think of its life as a tree, its leaves rustling as Indian hunted beneath it. The beam has a story, and I shall never know it. 

I think  that these stories are what make churches hallowed places. They hold the stories of countless weddings, baptisms, and funerals. They are repositories for generations of tears and joys, and (being that weirdo) I feel those stories when I walk into a place. I don't know them specifically, but I know that they reside there. 

The same thing with cemeteries. All those stones have a story. Some of the stories are very long, others, all too brief. But when I walk into a cemetery, I am mindful that I am standing the midst of stories that are for the most part, unknown, and those stories consecrate their place, to my way of thinking. 

So I walk around this world and I wonder about stories, about the long gone hands of the people who made this or that, or who walked on this ground before me, or the people who lived in the little houses along the river that we now own. 

Knowing this little factoid might make you understand why I found this little song so moving. 

Side note: European 'old' and America's 'old' are two different 'olds'. I marvel at your history every time I read a blog. 


  1. I find cemeteries very poignant too - I love the dark ones iN Wales where all the stones are made of slate, leaning now at different angles. So many young people though, and so many deaths in the mines... stories untold.

  2. Old versus old, yes. The castle we used to see from the windows of our previous house was built in the 11th century but the site had been in use for a very long time before that. I love to imagine all those different lives, lived in that same place over many hundreds of years.

  3. History does have a powerful pull Debby, but surely it can be exhausting if we follow through every story to an end. I loved the story of the rock and the child who accidentally shot himself, recorded and remembered.

  4. With a partner still abed, I can't listen to the sing now, but I like your reflections in this post.

  5. I listened to the song all the way through. Thank you.

  6. Our last and final house was around one hundred years old, now over 120. Some time after moving to where we now live in a highrise apartment, I wondered about the old house and what it had witnessed. Love making, children born, arguments, domestic violence, parties and gatherings, cramming too many people into a small house, multiple children sharing one bedroom.

    Another time I saw a neighbour on a tram and she did not see me. She looked like a perfectly normal and average tram traveller. No one on the tram knew she was very rich. No one knew her husband has dementia. No one knew how well travelled she is.

    So yes, there are stories everywhere. Every one and every thing has a story.

  7. What a lovely song. As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that we all have our stories and we all need to tell our stories. My patients tell me their stories which I always find such an honour.

  8. I forgot to add that I think trees have the most stories of all to tell. They have been around for the longest.

  9. If walls or beams could speak. I love old English country churches and graveyards. I once went in an old church in Dorset and a knight and a lady rested in a tomb waiting for Judgement Day since the fourteenth century.

  10. I live in a city called Naperville which was founded by Joe Naper, a settler who is buried in the city cemetery. I often wonder what he would think of what has become of his small settlement now a city over 140,000!

  11. Love this post, Debby... and so many interesting responses.

  12. I've always wondered about the tree that stands in the same spot for it's whole life. What things has this tree seen go by over the years. How many of it's brothers and sisters have died?

  13. The oldest church that I've been in is Old Trinity Church in the outershore of Maryland. It was very moving. The 14th century? My gosh. That's wonderful. And a castle? Jaycee? Sigh of delight!

  14. It's always fascinating to consider the history of a place or an object.


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