| Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no
one can steal. - Irish headstone|
Those who repose in Goodnight Cemetery, well-remembered ...
... with row upon row of flowers, flags and emblems
Some grave sites covered from one end to the other
By Bob Weaver - Memorial Day 2004
Sometime or other I wrote about how Calhoun folks celebrated Memorial Day,
my family always calling it Decoration Day. They would go and place flowers on
all the graves from every generation, even having dinner on the ground.
We gathered freshly blooming flowers from the farm, placed them in canning jars, and took them to the graves.
A few return to remember family and friends, now reposing in Calhoun's hundred or so cemeteries.
I was taken back by the curiosity of some readers who viewed the practice in
a negative way, calling it "ancestral worship," indicating it was not an activity
they would enjoy, traipsing around in a cemetery and placing artifacts, flowers
and flags on grave sites.
I wrote back to most of them and explained my perception, that our country
families were close and connected. Families, relatives, neighbors, origins and
place have been important threads that connect the living and the dead.
The practice, however, is fading.
While Decoration Day began with Civil War widows becoming disturbed at the
sight of the bare graves, placing flowers upon them, the ritual grew into one of
remembering and respecting the dead of all family members.
It was apparent yesterday when I visited the Goodnight Cemetery, a likely
name for a burial ground, but actually named for the Goodnight family who
settled on Sugar Camp in 1855. The cemetery is located on a hill between
Yellow Creek and Leading Creek.
Besides Goodnights reposing there, you'll find names like Eagle, Jones,
Sidwell, Wilson, Frederick, Trippett, Yoak, Hamrick and Parsons.
The first Goodnights in the community were William Joseph and Joanna
Elizabeth Guthrie Goodnight. They had 15 children, with many of their
descendants still living on Leading Creek, Yellow Creek and the general
The effort to remember the lives and contributions of those reposing in the
cemetery was more than apparent.
Wind chimes play quietly over family plot
"He loved the outdoors" with grave set aside to natural growth
A small child is remembered ...
... while others have crosses and scripture verses