Tombstone as Landscape Feature

, Tunein

Continuing our theme of burial sites, there’s one in a small Alabama town that’s making national news.

Patty Davis knew just where she wanted to be buried – just off his front porch, and that’s just what her devoted husband of 48 years did.  Trouble is, he asked permission (his first mistake), was turned down, and did it anyway.  After a four-year legal battle that he lost at the Alabama Supreme Court, he’s being ordered to dig her up and move her to a regular cemetery.  But he’s refusing, and Patty remains in the front yard, along with an outhouse and a large sign demanding that his wife be allowed to rest in peace.

According to the story in the Times, the neighbors don’t seem to mind and have gotten used to the grave site: “It’s his wife,” said Margaret Garner, 56. “He’s got the right.”

But that’s a small town in  Southern Appalachia, where landscaping norms may be different from the ones in your neighborhood or mine.  How would YOU react if you were a neighbor?  (The outhouse would be the deal-breaker for me, not the gravesite.)  And what happens when the house is eventually sold?

Posted by

Susan Harris
on October 24, 2013 at 8:13 am, in the category What’s Happening.

Comment List

  • Susan P 03 / 11 / 2016

    He’s got the best Halloween decorations on the block.

  • Laura Bell 09 / 11 / 2016

    I wouldn’t be happy with it, if he was my neighbor. However … the article I read stated there may already be a law on the town’s books allowing for family burial plots on private property. If that’s the case, the woman should be allowed to rest where she was buried.

  • William 14 / 11 / 2016

    My mother lives in a 175-year-old farmhouse on 30 acres in rural South Carolina. There is an acre plot set aside from all the adjacent properties which is the family burial ground for the family that has owned and farmed the land for the last two centuries. There are ancient camellias, huge magnolias, a Victorian iron fence. As “neighbors”, for us it is a treasure. For descendants – who have mostly moved “away”- it is an irreplaceable touchstone with their forebears; and, not incidentally, it is a refuge in this now distant country for returning to enjoy some of the rural pleasures and pursuits denied them in their new urban surrounds. Washing dishes at her sink, one can gaze out on the old moldering grave markers and the beautiful tiny-flowered striped pink camellias, the tiny flags fluttering at the graves.

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