June 21, 2005

"Best of all he loved the fall..."

Yesterday I was driving through town on my way home from work, thinking some more about that Poe grave and how I probably won't actually get the chance to see it. I suddenly realized I was at that very moment driving past the cemetery where another literary giant is buried - so I took a quick left, skidded into the driveway and went to pay a visit to Ernest Hemingway's grave.

It's a small cemetery. I know a lot of the people there. I looked around a bit as I meandered over to the trees where I knew I could find the Hemingway family. Ernest Hemingway's tombstone is one of those long, full-size slabs that lie flat on the ground. (I vaguely remember hearing, when I was growing up, something about how they had to put in a big slab since Hemingway fans kept coming along to "pay tribute" by digging up scoops of dirt from the gravesite as souvenirs. As far as I can tell, I am the only person who seems to have heard this story, so it is probably completely false. No idea.) The spot is a nice one, under some tall pines, shady. Mary Hemingway is buried next to Ernest on the left, and his son Jack is just to the right.

I am not a mega Hemingway fan. I like him fine, and appreciate his talent, but I wouldn't gush. Maybe it's the womanizing and the hunting that keeps me from falling in love (though I have to admit, I am quite attracted to the the old-school, hard-drinking artist style, and, of course, the dashing mustache). Nevertheless, it was hard not to feel a certain reverence, standing there staring at the stone. Pretty cool, huh?

All of a sudden, a startling crack of thunder shook the ground and it started to pour rain, big huge drops splatting on the tombstones. So I ran back to the car and went on my way.

Ernest Hemingway in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1939.


big drunk mo said...

Brings back great memories. I once vomited on the front porch of Hemingway's house on Key West. I'm sure I would have felt the same sort of ambivalence and respectfulness--wishing for some profound sign from the great man, but getting pretty much nothing--as you felt at his grave site, if only I had been able to formulate thoughts that night. Instead, me and my friends ran after I puked all over the welcome mat. My little gift to Papa.

Ahcumbalakkachimba said...

I took a huge dump after I read the previous comment. It helped a lot.

Manticore N. Squiggly said...

George W. Bush, America's worst president in history, couldn't even read the first page of one of Hemingway's books.