Fun things to do in cemeteries


True story:  When I was a child, my mother took me to do “grave rubbings” at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, S.C.    (Yes, yes, thank you, I know they have a wonderful organ there.)

A grave rubbing is a form of art, in which you place a piece of paper atop a gravestone, and then stroke the paper with chalk or wax to get an image of the inscription there. It’s art for the artistically challenged, like me.  To passers-by, however, the act can look alarmingly like vandalism, so please seek permission from the cemetery office before doing this with wild-eyed abandon.

Anyway, one of the graves we visited was that of the poet Henry Timrod.  And, amazingly enough, a few days later, the hosts of a morning radio show – I think it may have been Bill Benton and Gene McKay – asked a trivia question to which the answer was … wait for it …  the late, great Mr. Timrod.

Pulsing with excitement, I called in, anticipating fame, glory and fabulous prizes.  This transpired: Continue reading

A tale of two Jens



      To the dismay of 1,405 women (and one man), I did not change my surname when the Massachusetts court system pronounced me divorced.

      It was something I never even considered.  I have been Jennifer Graham for nearly 20 years and never much liked my maiden name anyway. Besides, my four children are all Grahams, and our snowman-making kit says we’re the Graham family, as does the Christmas-tree skirt, and in matters of such import, I cede authority to the monogrammers at Land’s End.

      So, no, I expect to be Jennifer Graham forever, and I’m sorry about that, Jennifer Phillips Graham.

      This other Jennifer Graham is a writer with four kids, too –though I am thankful she is in Ohio, a safe distance away.  She came across my work via Google one day, and sent me a bright, funny email, which led to others, and so we’ve become friends.

      A few years older than me, JPG calls herself “the original” Jennifer Graham, a distinction that is technically correct, but morally wrong, so I just call her “Jen 1″ or JPG.

    For all I know, Jen 1 is  really an evil genius who befriended me only so I will bequeath her my dot-com domain name when I pass.  If so, the plan is working; it’s hers unless someone else offers me a million dollars and a year’s supply of second-cut hay.

      Anyway, last week, JPG wrote a column about names, in which she mentions me.  At the risk of losing my tens of readers to another Jennifer Graham, here it is:

    Funny stuff. Well, except for the website, which she blatantly stole from me.  But can Jennifer Graham plagarize Jennifer Graham? Without prior knowledge, could anyone even tell our work apart? I’m betting not, and plan to collect the links to her best bylines and add them to my website.  It’ll make her life that much easier when she takes over my domain name.  Which will come, by the way, with a couple of donkeys, and maybe a snowman-making kit.