MANY HAPPY RETURNS
by Anita Marie Moscoso
Slumber Boneset doesn’t celebrate her birthday because she’s not sure of the exact date and that’s always been a sore spot for Slumber Boneset because she’s sure of a lot of things.
She’s sure about what the weather is going to be like, she’s sure of what it is people are thinking even when they’re saying something else and she’s always sure about where her six children and 14 grandchildren are and how they’re doing.
Over the years people have made their way to Slumber Boneset’s House by moonlight and for a few dollars she can help them with solve all sorts of problems.
So to not know something as basic as her own birth date has kept Slumber Boneset humble.
The plus side to this embarrassing situation is that it makes for a good story that her children and grandchildren insist on hearing every November 1st.
That’s when they celebrate Slumber Boneset’s Found Day.
” Oh you don’t want to hear that sad tired old story again! ” she said to her family over the dinner table last November.
” Yes we do! ” the youngest Boneset insisted in a panic “Your story is the best Halloween Story ever!”
Slumber started to laugh and asked her daughter, “ are you sure you want another one these?”
“ More then anything” she told her Mother and Slumber motioned for her grandson to take a seat.
Then Slumber sighed and she agreed to tell her story.
Someone got up and lit the candles and someone else made sure everyone had their spiced apple cider cups filled and then the lights were turned off and Slumber told tell her story.
Stonecrop Cemetery and Funeral Home is just a Park nowadays and there hasn’t been a funeral there for years.
Sixty –five years ago though it was still struggling along.
The problem was Stonecrop looked like a page from a Victorian Ghost Story about headless women dressed in white wandering along the rows of tombstones.
No one really wanted to visit there let alone have their remains interred there for all of eternity so business was slowing down and going out to Larkspear which was an up can coming style of cemetery complete with dark green manicured lawns and park benches and reflection pools full of fresh clean water.
Mr and Mrs. Cabbagetree were the owners of Stonecrop and all around they were good people who tended their dark overgrown cemetery the best they could.
But because it was so old already there was little to no money coming in and what repairs were needed they did on their own and they really didn’t mind. Stonecrop was their home and besides each other they didn’t have anything else.
They had each other and if you asked that was all they said they needed.
One morning Mrs. Cabbagetree was out in the Cemetery raking leaves and trying her best to visit the graves as she worked. She was pushing her rake along when a sharp pain raced up her arm to her jaw and it took her breath away.
” I’m only 42 ” she said to no one and then the rake fell from her hands and she died.
Mrs. Cabbagetree was buried on Morningside Hill, that’s where the children were buried in Stonecrop and I’m sorry to say it was an extensive section of the cemetery…infant mortality having been such a problem all those years ago.
” I know she wanted children, ” Mr Cabbagetree told on his friends at the graveside of Mrs. Cabbagetree ” and did she insist or even bring it up? Not once, she knew what this place meant to me, she worked so hard Burke and in the end that’s all she had to.”
” It’s not right, she should have had something of her own. She should have had that child”
Everyone said Mr Cabbagetree wasn’t the same after he lost his wife. He walked slow and talked slow and you almost wanted to reach out and touch his arm to make sure he was there.
He was already a ghost and when he died no one was surprised.
They found him one day sitting by a reflection pool full of leaves and his eyes were wide open and in his dead hands was a baby’s rattle and a black shawl.
After Mr Cabbagetree died the City started to bring in their own maintenance crews to keep up Stonecrop and one day they opened the gates and the first thing they saw were at least a dozen mounds of freshly turned earth dotting Morningside Hill.
Mrs. Cabbagetree’ s grave was opened and when they looked in she had a shovel in her hands and a smile on her face.
It was the Day after Halloween that the work crews returned to Stonecrop and before they could unlock the gates and go in they saw a little box sitting off to the side…. and it was moving.
One of them looked into the box and there, wrapped in a black shawl with a tag sewn onto the collar that said ” Slumber Boneset ” was a baby.
She had black hair and her skin was a soft caramel color and one of her eyes was midnight black and the other was ice blue and besides that she was perfect.
” So that’s my story, I was known for a long time as the Cemetery Baby and some people think I have the gift … but we know better then that, don’t we? ” Slumber asked.
From the other end of the table Slumber’s eldest daughter said, ” Mom, I think it’s time.”
” Yes it is…. please someone get my Shawl from my bedroom closet. Yes, the black one of course. After all, this is a special occasion.”
Slumber raced down the hall to the kitchen and when she returned she had a shovel in one hand and a baby’s rattle in the other. ” Let’s go dear, I’m ready. “