Sunday, December 14, 2014

the trip to the cemetery, by truck and by horse-drawn wagon

post #220
I stopped to make this photo of the burial site preparation as I was on the way to the funeral. 
       I should probably start by mentioning -- since I seem to have readers in various parts of the world -- that it is very common in our region to have a family cemetery in a hillside plot on a family's home place.  So, at the Monday evening visitation this week at the funeral home, for my neighbor and friend, Garry, whose photo was in last week's blog, I was asked if I would please make photos of the next day's trip to the cemetery after the funeral.  
       The family was planning first to carry the coffin 17 miles on the back of Garry's beloved red truck, almost to the home place, with his saddle strapped on over the coffin. Then, since he also loved all things horse, they planned to transfer the coffin to an open wagon on wheels, drawn by two horses, whose driver, Terry, is, I believe, a friend of Garry's. 
       The horses, the wagon, and friends and family who were helping waited on a corner not far from the home.  Several folks would be riding horses alongside the wagon.  One of those waiting horses was Garry's; it would be led, with the empty saddle.  
       When the funeral procession arrived, the coffin was transferred to the wagon, and the saddle was put on Garry's horse, who was led by Jonathon, seen in the photos with his red checked shirt.  All made the journey together -- the wagon, the horses, followed by the cars and trucks in the procession -- for the slow ride to the cemetery.
       The day was gray and quite chilly, but it wasn't raining or snowing like it could have been.  That helps me a lot.  I think the transfers took place around 4 p.m.  I forgot to think about time while I was working though of course that info is on my camera.  
        Nothing is staged so it's just chance what I can see without being aggressive. If I need to balance getting the photo I'd want with being respectful and caring, I always choose caring.  I know many of the people there, which is a help. They could perhaps understand what I was trying to do for the family, at their request.  Of course many people were taking photos as well, mostly with their phones, and someone I didn't know seemed to be taking some video.
      I hope these photos here do give an idea of what the occasion felt like.  They are some of the many moments I could have taken. I am putting less than half of the total photos here, mostly because of space considerations but also because of privacy issues.  Please note: The images are not worked over, so they appear as just what I could manage that day, warts and all.  My hope is that there are enough to tell a heartfelt story.  I offer these as my small part in a big tribute that took place this week for Garry by those who love him. 

  Next I drove ahead to the place where the horses and wagon were gathered, waiting.
Garry's horse, held by Jim

ready and waiting

The red truck arrives as part of the procession.

getting ready for the transfer

Terry Reynolds, driver

turning into the farm

Terry heading back

horses talking back and forth

finishing up the time at the cemetery

looking back at the house and barn from the cemetery

I very much enjoyed the ride I hitched to where my car was parked.... thanks so much!
A blog reminder: clicking on one photo will bring up all the photos along the bottom of the screen for viewing at a larger size.


  1. Very well done Ann, it showed all the steps of the funeral but yet not invade on their privacy....I am sure Garry would have been very proud how all things went he was a great man and also was a very private person so in all I think everything went well. It made the family really proud of how it all went together and now they have some photos to keep and share later if they need and want ,good job neighbor.

  2. I am very moved by this photo tribute. You did a marvelous job capturing the quiet greatness of the loving tribute to Garry. So many photos made my heart beat a little tighter for a moment - the riderless horse, the procession to the farm, folks walking back (silently it appears) toward the house