Monday, February 21, 2011
bones of the Republic
OK, this is kinda gross and hilarious and gonna get me in a lot of trouble...
I can't wait to tell it to ya...
Marcus Mallard, a name synonymous with the historic and profane, told this at Blues Alley today:
It seems back in the sixties, Marcus was a young man with a metal detector. He was called to help with a situation out near Richards. The highway workers had hit some graves at the old Kennard family cemetery. Marcus ran to the scene, as this was interesting to him for more than historic purposes. These were kinfolks.
When he got there, the scene was pretty ugly. There, right on the side of the road, where some large chunks of sandstone had been removed, were two opened graves. The dozer had unknowingly collected the heads of the deceased, and parts of the two skulls were on display. These were believed to be the hundred-year-old remains of Anthony Drew and Sarah Kennard, Grimes County pioneers. Anthony Kennard had been an Indian fighter and frontiersman who brought his family to "Kennard's Prairie" in 1830.
The Sheriff's Department had gotten a poor, able-bodied black guy out of the Navasota jail to help dig. He was standing in the grave and removing whatever could be found. A leg bone, a jawbone... the man had been buried in a cedar box. You could still smell the cedar, after one hundred years in the ground. A finger digit. A button.
Somebody hollered for Marcus and his metal detector. By now, every man that could get there from around the area was standing over and watching the horror show. Marcus got down into the grave, and began to fidgit with his machine. A dozen or more men huddled over the grave like penguins at a fishfry. The digger gladly stepped aside. What might they find? Marcus put his machine to the ground.
Suddenly the metal detector shouted, "DAT DAT DAT DAT!" real loud.
It sounded like the dead were going to rise. Everybody bailed out. Men were flailing in every direction, hollering and cussing. Some had jumped up in seeming suspended animation, up, up, up. The digger was higher than any of them. Marcus stood there, laughing, getting one of those laughs of a lifetime that still tickles him today.
They put the stained, violated remains, the comingled bones of the happy couple in a modest wooden box, dug a shallow grave away from the road with the backhoe, and put the Kennards back into eternity. That's Grimes County!
Marcus may be the only man I have ever met, who literally looked upon the bones of his ancestors, and lived to laugh real hard about it.