I saw this image on Facebook today and laughed because it churned up this filed-away memory of driving the country roads of Tennessee with my mom.
We were travelling along Highway 321, roughly ten miles beyond the entrance to my high school, in search of some sort of adventure. I’m not entirely sure what we were looking for or why we were going out of our way, except maybe she was showing me some old haunts from her days in the same high school… haunts that had long since closed or simply disappeared into the ether of the Smoky Mountains.
We rolled along the highway, slowly scanning the roadside for something or another, when we passed a turn in the road that sharply lead up a short hill to the Huskey Cemetery.
“Do you remember this place?” she asked.
“No, why?” I was paying attention only distantly, being slightly bored by the expansive nothingness of 321.
“We drove by this when you were little,” she said, as though I might suddenly remember.
“No, remember, you were six or seven and we were coming into Gatlinburg this way. You saw the sign and said, ‘What’s a Huskey Cemetery?”
This memory started to creep forward, not nearly as quickly as it did today when I remembered both this drive and the one it pre-dates.
I looked to her, still a little perplexed at her odd smile as she relished the memory of this obscure place.
“I said, that’s where they bury the chubby boys,” she said and laughed. “You were horrified.”
And this is one of the many reason why I love my mother. She loved the slightly askew, somewhat dark side to humor. Today someone overhearing this might scream at her and say “What a horrible thing to say to a six or seven-year old boy!” I say, “Get a grip.” This kind of joke was what made me the slightly skew, somewhat dark, always (or mostly) laughing 36 to 37-year-old I am today.