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  • Writer's pictureAlana

40. Groom to Shamrock, TX

Updated: Jun 7

May 23, 2024

Today featured an empty tomb of a different sort (see yesterday's post for my first empty tomb encounter).

My route led me through the tiny hamlet of Alanreed, population 18, where a sweet and pert woman named Donna offered me Gatorade from her golf cart.

"We saw you yesterday when we were driving back from Amarillo," she told me. "I said to my sister, 'That is a lady on that bike!'"

When her husband died two years ago, Donna became the sole proprietor of the local RV park, which she tends with a sharp eye and green thumb. Her sister moved from out of state to help her.

I interviewed Donna for my book. Like most of my respondents in this part of the country, religion and family figured strongly in her descriptions of herself. She loves the Lord. She is proud of her children. And though she misses her husband, she is grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with her sister.

As I rode out of Alanreed, I passed its tiny cemetery. I spied Donna's husband's headstone, and so I turned in to pay my respects.

As I drew closer, I could see that it was a two-person headstone, a his-and-hers shaped like two hearts. To my surprise, Donna's name and birthdate were already etched on her side of the stone. Her grave is waiting for her.

I guess all of our graves are waiting for us. But I wonder what it's like to live down the road from yours, with your name already on it.


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