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In the Cemetery, Part 4

The Saturday painting party was a huge success as over two dozen people showed up. True to their word the city and dropped off some industrial sized paint cans of black Rustoleum paint. One of the parishioners that owned a hardware store donated, brushes, disposable paint pans and rollers, and he offered instructions and tips on painting.

The work commenced around 8:00 AM and around 9:00 PM the caterer arrived. A tent complete with tables and chairs were the first things set up. Soon large coffee makers and boxes of pastries were set out and it didn't take long before the smell of fresh coffee announced that it was time for a break. Vince looked among those in attendance for his new lady friend but could not spot her.

The break ended and the work resumed and continued until around 3:00 PM when the task was complete. Lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, beverages and all the side dishes that one could want were spread out and the hungry volunteers fell to it with a hearty appetite. By 6:00 PM everyone had gone and Vince closed and locked the gate.

As he headed back toward the groundskeepers cottage he encountered his new lady friend on the walkway to the front door.

"You and your friends did a marvelous job," she stated.

"Where were you? I looked for you."

"I dislike crowds so I stayed away."

"So what's next?"

"I need to start cutting the tall grasses around the stones and markers and its going to take sometime as I have to do it by hand."

"You're going to do it by hand?"

"I have no choice, oh they have special riding cutters and portable models but I can't afford to rent them."

"You should put that off and inspect the mausoleums first."

"Not a bad idea, thanks."

Then the days labor finally began to catch up with him and he felt very tired, so he collapsed into an easy chair and she sat on the arm looking down at him.

"I don't even know your name," Vince stated.

"You may call me Alexandra."

"I'm Vince."

"That is too common a name, I will call you Vincent."

"As you wish."

She just smiled and watched as Vince closed his eyes and fell into a deep sleep. She traced his cheek with her fingers and planted a light kiss on his forehead before she disappeared. Vince awoke around Midnight and decided to head home. As he pedaled his bike through the darkened streets he wondered if he would see his new lady friend tomorrow, he hoped he would.

Sunday Morning after church and brunch with his family he went to the cemetery. He loaded the wagon and decided to start at the furthest end of the grounds where some of the oldest mausoleums were. He raked up and bagged the leaves and trash and inspected the structures for any damage. He marveled at despite their age these building were in great shape.

At the second one he made a strange discovery, someone had placed a rocking chair outside the entrance gate and doors. It was a really old chair based on its construction and years of exposure to the elements had left it in poor condition. Now why would someone leave a rocking chair out here he wondered out loud.

"His family did it."

Vince wheeled around and saw Alexandra standing a few feet from him, he never heard her walking up behind him.

"Excuse me?"

"His family left it there."

"Why?"

"It was part of his last request, but they didn't totally fulfill his instructions."

Vince took a seat on the ground as Alexandra told the story of the Di Winter family. The patriarch was rumored to be very wealthy and he came by it by hard work. He purchased this plot of land and then had the mausoleum built a year later. Unfortunately for him his children and their children were lazy and were constantly asking for money which he gave them.

He had drafted his will prior to his death and it stated that his favorite rocker should be placed inside the crypt with him. The old man passed away and when his surviving family discovered that he had cut them out of his will stating he had already given them their inheritance over course the last twenty years they did not honor his request and basically threw the chair against the doors and had not been back since.

"That's a shame," Vince said as he inspected the old rocker.

"Yes it is," she responded.

Now Vince knew woodwork so he carefully took the chair and carried it to the cottage and attempted to clean it up but realized he needed the help of someone that refinishes wood. He managed to convince his Father to transport him and the chair to a local place the next Saturday. Upon his arrival he plied the owner with questions.

The owner confirmed that the chair was indeed very old and surprised that it had survived in the elements for so long and retained its shape. He doubted if it would be nothing more than a show piece if Vince invested the time and money to restore it. The owner sold him everything he needed and gave him instructions on how to proceed.

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