The burial was at the flat scratch of land next to Wilkinson’s homestead. Properly fenced and mended, it was even sparser than the surrounding acres. Thomas Weatherby from Poke Methodist did the service, said nice things about Jeremiah. He was also in charge of maintaining the grounds. He kept it nice and trim, tossing the dead flowers and replacing them with new ones when appropriate.
He was a trim and dour looking man, with clean iron-gray hair and unflinching composure. When it came to dealing with death and the digging of graves, he was the man who was called upon.
“I am sorry for your loss, Missus Windover,” he said in his reedy voice. “Life is hard without a husband. Will you be moving on?”
It was a thing I had hardly considered. I knew I could not maintain the farm on my own, but I had not thought of any options. The bank still had papers on the land, and the crops were withering. The soil was almost exhausted. I was resigned to stay put until I was forced out. There were no options, other than back-breaking labor that I was not prepared to endure.
“I don’t know yet, Thomas,” I said.
“The land is a hard thing,” he said. “Some things are easier to plant than others.”
If that was his dry humor, it fell flat, and was buried alongside Jeremiah.
Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer – Coming Soon