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  • Writer's pictureMel Dick

I Told You I Was Sick!!!

Great day today! Started out with a walk to the airport to pick up a rental car. Along the way, an early morning visit to the Key West Cemetery and watching the Key West Paddle Classic, a 12 mile paddle board and kayak race around the island. Drove a vehicle for the first time in over 2 months....can't say that I miss driving!

No visit to Key West would be complete without visiting the Key West Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1847 after a hurricane washed bodies out from their previous location. Many of the graves are above ground (similar to New Orleans) due to the high water table. The cemetery contains a historic Catholic section, Jewish section and a memorial for those who fought in the 1868 Cuban revolution. In addition to these three defined areas, African-Americans, Cubans and Americans, rich and poor, are interred throughout. In ground and crypt style graves range from simple concrete copings filled with soil to elaborate monuments. Plot enclosures of wrought iron, wood or concrete are often used to mark family plots. The cemetery is known for its many unusual gravestones. Perhaps most recognizedis that of local hypochondriac B.P. “Pearl” Roberts, which reads “I told you I was sick.” Other notable one-liners include “If You’re Reading This, You Desperately Need A Hobby,” and “I Always Dreamed Of Owning A Small Place In Key West.”

The visit was surreal. The cemetery is like a town of narrow streets...instead of houses there are rows of whitewashed rectangular boxes...instead of people there are chickens and iguanas...and familiar names like Mallory, Curry, Spottswood and more. The streets are lined with grave sites....some simple and others elaborate monuments with generations of families interred. As I reflected on how quiet it was I recognized how busy it was...loved ones and friends maintaining plots, rebuilding roofs and repairing fences...people walking and biking and chickens all over. I left with a sense of peace and tranquility reflecting on the thought that we are all only here for a brief moment in time... time to be spent with family and friends making the best of what we have.

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