I honestly don't remember the first animal we interred on the property, but I'd lay book that it was a fish, and probably one of the carnival ilk, no wait, I think it was a frog. Molly was just 5 and she was playing with a frog out at Grandma's house and of course wanted to bring it home with her. We told her no, but she thought she could do it anyway, and she quickly discovered two things that were not conducive to frog life.
Specifically they were a 40 minute ride from Bristol NY, and the pocket of a 5 year old's jeans. Picture one flat, dead frog. I'm pretty sure that we buried that one, on the south side of the house. A little tip about burying small pets, you don't really have to go down six feet with them, but you do have to get them deep enough so they won't get dug up by other things. The life lesson here was, listen to your parents, or things die.
We had a package deal on the next 2-3 burials. These were carnival fish that more than likely came from the Cheshire Fireman's carnival or the St. Mary's Festival. I'll bet good money that we aren't the only suckers that let their kids play that goldfish game for a dollar and then had to spend $40 on an aquarium set up for the fish that they won. We keep telling ourselves that we are teaching about the sanctity of all life, but truth be told, we are just suckers for carnival fish. On this round we had 3, I think, and maybe they were named Mimi, George, and Dad Can't Remember (One of these is probably wrong, but I'll let the kids or wife correct the historical record).
The next burial was a big one, a black lab, a family pet. Interestingly enough though, it wasn't our family pet. We pulled out of the driveway one morning on the way to a camping trip, and a black lab was splayed out in the road in front of our house. We didn't need the CSI team n this one to figure out how it had been killed, we live on a busy road with some summer truck traffic. We picked it up, called a neighbor whose we thought it was, and left it in a box behind the garage. When we came back 3 days later and it was still there, we knew we had to bury it, so it went behind our old garage. We left another phone message for the family down the block telling them what we had done, in case they wanted the remains.
|Tomb of the Unknown Dog|
They were away for a week. The surprise ending on this one was that later we walked by their house and heard their dog in their backyard. I always envision the family coming home with their 4 kids racing to the answering machine to see who could push the button first, only to hear Mr Yarger down the block say " Um, your dog's dead". I imagine them bursting into tears and going into hysterics until they check their yard and see that their dog is still there, and then thinking what a jerk I was to play such a mean trick. They moved away shortly after that, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't the cause. To this day, the black lab buried there is unknown to us. The lesson here, no good deed goes unpunished.
Moving on and up with the body count (now at 5), the next animals buried were both rescued birds. I have their names on a post it here, I had asked my son to write them down. Also on the post-it is " the Dog Dad hit". I'll have to talk to that boy when he gets up this am, and remind him I found a dead dog, not created it. The first bird he called Quasi-Moto, and of course was injured in some sort of accident, probably with it's own reflection in a window (Once again, don't keep your house too clean, it's cruel to the wildlife). I think Quasi lived in our house for a few days being cared for, but eventually succumbed to his injuries, or it was the Sponge (he may have gotten a taste for killing after his 3 fish spree).
We did scatter the ashes of our family dog, Barney the Beagle, along the path that he used to run back and forth on each day. We had a dog run connected to
a large maple and to our north side of our house.
We could never grow grass there while Barney was alive, and I could write a whole blog about Barney, which I will some day and it will be the funniest one I have ever written, so I'll just show a picture of the area where we scattered the ashes for now. Barney didn't do many tricks, wasn't really trainable, barked incessantly, dug holes in the yard, wet on the floors and bit a few people in his day, but we miss him still. The lesson in here is something about no matter how big a Pain in the Ass you are, there will always be people that will miss you when you are gone, or at least I hope it will be that way when I pass.
|Barney's resting place|
The last burials took place just a few weeks ago and we were back to fish. Now you wouldn't expect your independent daughter, who lives two hours away, to return home to bury her dead, but that is what just occurred. I forget if it was one or two fish, but I think they got buried in a little box and joined their brethren on the south lawn. That brings the total body count around the property to 10. I am certain that I missed a few somewhere, and maybe the body count is higher, but the kids will likely remember more. I struggled with how to end this blog on a positive note, but then remembered that I know a story of Goldfish Resurrection. My brother, Ace, came home one day to find the family carnival goldfish, approximately 15 years old, lying on the floor outside of the tank. It had likely jumped out of the tank and landed where it lay (our Sponge was questioned, but released). He gave it the burial that a carnival goldfish deserves, said a few words, and then offered it up to the porcelain goddess. As the water swirled counter clockwise in the bowl and was about to swallow the fish, Ace noticed that the goldfish was swimming clockwise, and quickly scooped him out and returned him to the tank. That fish is still alive today, if you go in the summer, he gets breaks from the tank and swims in the family pool, no joke.
So, if you find yourself in Hall NY, and want to take the Yarger pet graveyard tour, feel free to walk among the dead, silently and reverently. We don't charge admission, except to see the Sponge.