Woodland stroll follows Memory Lane

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The 23rd Psalm:

1 – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 – He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

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3 – He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 – Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

As warm weather begins to approach, I will begin doing my daily one-hour walk in Woodland Cemetery.

I am often reminded of the 23rd Psalm because so many have walked the valley of the shadow of death.

I usually begin in what is often referred to as the Coal Grove section (Section P).

It is not uncommon to see Herman Baker, Lois Sites, or one of the McKnight family visiting with Doris, Don, Arthur, and Joann, all good Coal Grove people.

My wife has an uncle, Manford, and a cousin, Jerry buried in this section. Our own headstone has been in the Coal Grove section for 10 years now. Near our headstone lies boyhood chum Frank Collins’ father Ed.

Also nearby are two friends who departed at relatively young ages, Bill (Grizzle) Myers and Tim Harrison.

Bounce Jones, a man who worked with my wife, and Mike Fields, a friend I worked with, are also in this section. Both were educators. Near the entrance gate to Section P lies one of my father’s boyhood friends, Weeger McKnight.

In the back row, Doug Morgan now rests. Doug took me on my first motorcycle ride as a youth and later purchased our house on Memorial Street. We are just passin’ thru in this lifetime.

I normally leave the Coal Grove section and walk down to Mount Calvary. It is not uncommon to see Meat Compliment or his son Andy working tirelessly on this cemetery.

My longtime friend George Patterson is at rest here beside his daughter Peggy.

One of the best athletes to ever play at Coal Grove, Pooch Carey, lies across the road beside his sister Mary.

Mary graduated with my class of 1965 at Coal Grove.

I often look at the headstone of Gene Unger and recall that my mother, in my youth, always bought my school shoes each year at Unger’s Shoes, because they do not wear out.

Bob Linn lies just across the road. Clarence Carey, a member of the first football team at Coal Grove (1928), lies nearby as well as Francis Carey, brother of Pooch Carey. We are all just passin’ through.

I now continue my walk into the back gate at Woodland. I usually see Bill Klaiber and staff at work keeping Woodland one of the premier cemeteries in the country.

You enter into flat country from the back gate, go into rolling hills as you move to the front, and depart down hill across a beautiful bridge.

The older sections have antique stone. The days when Ironton was a great ironworks town are represented by huge monuments. Finally, the modern era is seen with colorful headstones and photo-like scenes. Many species of trees are everywhere.

Looking out on Route 52 are two huge ebony stones. They sit on Patriots’ Path, in which bricks with the names of those who served our country in foreign wars are placed in the ground.

Two of the authentic Civil War cannons are located here along with four ebony benches. Just before you arrive at this point, Section 15 has many white-washed stones of those soldiers who died in the Civil War (1861-65).

Two more authentic and restored Civil War cannons sit here. Sitting on a knoll just behind Patriots’ Path is a section devoted to those who gave their lives in wars overseas for the United States.

The American Flag, a small cannon, and monument also rest here. Across the road in Section L lie Chuck Delawder’s parents, Chod and Norma. One of Coal Grove’s best football coaches, Mel Adams, is three or four headstones away.

Just across the road (Section D) Wayne White, husband of our neighbor Naomi, lies at rest. Another longtime neighbor, Joann Robinson, lies nearby in Section V.

It reminds me that we are all just passin’ through.

Mike Nourse, a retired educator, is a contributing columnist for The Tribune and lifetime resident of Coal Grove.