Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stories and Stones

Missoula Cemetery

It's a rainy Saturday morning, cold and damp with snow swirling on the higher peaks around us, so I figured I'd grab my fuzzy slippers and another cup of espresso and settle down to blog.

And this blog is going to be about one of our local Missoula treasures...the Missoula Cemetery.

What?!! A cemetery?!, you might exclaim but I say, Yes, a cemetery! Established in 1884, not only is it a lovely place for an afternoon stroll with its ornate headstones and rows of big, old maples but at least once a year, it's as if your history book comes alive.

Every Fall, volunteers bring to life the stories of deceased patrons. From the Missoula Madam, Mary Gleim, to Missoula's very own serial killer, Wayne Nance, to Missoula's founding fathers which range from architects to Civil War soldiers and, of course, the one I'm most fascinated with, Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress in a time before women even had the right to vote! Heck, to this day, we even have a lovely store dedicated to her and her pursuit of peace, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center. And, might I add, this makes it all the more dear to my heart after taking part in the most exciting election I have had the honor of participating in...Yes, we can! May our President-Elect carry us gracefully through a new era of peace, compassion and hopefulness. But, I digress...

My good friend Lori, and her daughters, Emily and Audrey, accompanied me on this Fall afternoon to Stories and Stones at the Missoula Cemetery. It was a gorgeous autumn day and we all had a lovely time kicking our way through fallen leaves as we wandered around with the other Missoulians listening to the stories of lives from long ago. There were hay rides to be taken and goodies to be nibbled and they even provided the kids with paper and crayons so they could make etchings of the stones.

Emily making an engraving

This is one of the many reasons I love this little town I live in. Friends and neighbors getting together in a postcard perfect setting to celebrate the lives we share now and the lives of those who came before us. Thanks Lori, Emily and Audrey for sharing your time, stories and smiles with me!

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