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Hartselle Enquirer

The Hatcher Family Cemetery

On a hill in Tennessee, behind the tall grass and thick brush, there’s a little cemetery tucked away in a stand of trees. It’s like any other old cemetery you drive by in the country, except for this one is where so many of my people are buried. It’s a shadow of the way Hatcher’s moved from Virginia to Tennessee and planted themselves into the countryside. A reminder of the toil that brought us into those hills so long ago.

It was established in 1857 and has generations of Hatcher’s buried there, but the weather and time have worn away most of the markers making them nearly impossible to read. Just the same, there’s a strange sort of familiarity when I find myself on that hill.

Even if I could read the graves, knowing the names wouldn’t help me know most of their stories any more than I already do; they’re just people from more than a century ago that I don’t know any more about than some strangers on the other side of the planet, but standing by their graves and knowing that I wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t existed always moves me. There’s something humping in that. Something powerful in standing where my forebears stood 130 years before I was ever even thought of.

They say they could hear the battle of Franklin from that hill, the canons sounding like popcorn cooking on the stove. Around the bend is the Hatcher Family Dairy that still operates today, and I often think about a time when Hatcher’s roamed all over that part of the state. Even though I grew up nearly an hour from that hill, I guess that’s what’s always made it feel like home. It draws me there like a dog to a plate of unattended bacon.

I doubt I’ll be buried there when my time comes, but when I’m feeling especially romantic, I like to imagine I will be. I like to pretend I believe in ghosts and imagine running into one every once in a while, silly as that sounds. I’m haunted by those that came before me

Eva

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