Cemetery caretaker asks to be set free

I have been maintianing the Kasilof-Cohoe cemetery for 50 years. I’m not looking for compliments or gratuities, I just want to be set free. It is a community cemetery, but except for one clean-up day a year the community does not help me. I’m 80 years old with no replacement in sight. If I walk out on it, it will go back to wilderness. I have not had a summer to myself in 30 years. I think I’ve earned one, plus retirement.

The McLanes claim the cemetery as their own because their parents established it. I cleared three acres of it by myself and there was not a McLane in sight. I would relinquish all that I have done if the McLanes would just take it over, hire their own people and set me free.

I took 200 beetle-killed trees out of it. The limbs had to be taken care of and the twigs raked up after each tree because the cemetery had to be maintained. The wood was a bonus for me working there. The trees in block six were to be mine also, but someone stole them. Let’s see now — I get no help, no replacement and no wood.

Last summer a woman left a note on the tool house door critical of my rejection of yellow-eyed daisies. She did not sign it. I would have told her to take over maintenance of all four acres and she could grow whatever she wants. Daisies spread faster than dandelions, and both of them will overcome flowering dogwood. The dogwood is a low growth that looks good in all of its stages. It looks especially good this year. I have tried to encourage it.

I’ve learned a lot in 50 years, but now I feel like a dummy. I had a boss who used to say, “Don’t be somebody’s goat.” I feel that’s what I’ve been.

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