During an afternoon walk on March 25 I walked through a cemetery in Morris.
I veered from the sidewalk into the cemetery to hear the chirping birds and read the tombstones. I read the dates of birth and death and last names on the tombstones. Graves of children who died young and parents who died old. Mothers, brothers, uncles and aunts. Some who died recently and others who died in the early 1900s.
Each read tombstone makes me wonder about that person's life. I try to imagine what Stevens County was like for a woman born in Ireland but who died in the county.
As I walked down a cemetery lane I saw two green trash cans ahead of me. I glanced toward the first and paused.
What was an empty box of boxed wine doing in the garbage at a cemetery? I thought it must have been one heck of a graveside service because the trash can also contained several empty bottles of wine. I walked to the second garbage can and find more empty wine bottles and some empty liquor bottles.
I've heard of people celebrating a loved one's life but that's usually done at a local hall or house, not in the cemetery.
I conjured up various reasons why the empty booze box and bottles were in the garbage. I thought maybe some high school student had a party and had discarded the evidence in the cemetery so the parents wouldn't find out. Maybe it's a closet drinker disposing of the empties that can no longer be safely hidden.
Maybe someone intended to recycle the empties but changed his mind.
It really hasn't been warm enough for a group of folks to gather and drink in secret at night in a cemetery. Besides, that seems risky. The nearby streets are well-traveled. The nearby University of Minnesota Morris Campus and its cops, plus the Stevens County Sheriff's Office and the Morris Police make it unlikely that anyone would drink in a cemetery.
I've heard that for some people, it's tradition to toast a lost loved on at the graveside on an anniversary of a death, birthday or similar. But an empty bottle of vodka would make that one long toast.
And the brands of wine, boxed and bottle, weren't expensive. I'm not sure about the liquor because I didn't take a close look at the brands but I did see the vodka brand, again not expensive.
For whatever the reason, those booze boxes and bottles find a place to rest at the end of their useful lives.