Tombstone Rock


August 12, 2020 | View PDF

Madison County has a regulation that requires a property owner to clearly mark his or her 911 physical address at the entrance to the driveway so emergency services can find the property if called to the site for any sort of emergency.

We have lived on our little abode on the side of a hill now for the past three years, and although we have the road name clearly marked, we have never managed to put the actual road number at the entrance to our driveway. We have talked about completing this little task multiple times, but somehow other projects take priority and we have never accomplished this small chore. We have discussed what we want, what would fit in with the property itself, but that is as far as any sort of resolution has gone.

My husband finally bought a few reflective numbers to use for this task but he wanted something different, not just a few letters and numbers attached to the top of a post. He dithered about what sort of post or sign we ought to have at the entrance of our driveway and always managed to delay making any sort of final decision as to what sort of sign he might like to see when he rounded the curve to our home.

Since I work on a temporary basis with the county, in the GIS department no less, and since we are older and have no idea when we might need emergency services to make an unexpected appearance at our home, I decided now was the time to adhere to regulations and put up some sort of signage identifying our territory.

My husband decided the numbers he had bought would not be as visible as they ought to be, but then he voiced the concern about posting larger numbers, finding a thick enough pillar to secure a more substantial sign, and placing the entire contraption into the ground in a way that would look like it belonged here.

Our neighbors use large boulders as landscaping, placed strategically across their property and at the entrance to their driveway. The rocks look great, they stand out, they of course blend naturally with the surrounding environment and are completely part of the landscape. They look great. I suggested to my husband that we find an appropriate rock for ourselves, place it at the driveway entrance, and display the numbers on our newly planted stone.

He agreed immediately that a large boulder would more than adequately serve the purpose and fit right in with our already rocky décor.

The search was on for a suitable monolith. We enlisted the help of our neighbors, as they have a lot of potential candidates sitting on their property already, and they also own the tractor we would need to move an appropriate rock from its current spot to the new resting place we had in mind.

The neighbors discovered an excellent prospect just a few yards from their back porch. This stone was easy to access and move, it had a great well-rounded shape with two smooth sides to it which would be quite suitable for displaying numbers and letters, its multi-colors looked really beautiful and sparkled in the sunlight, so we jumped at the chance to secure this boulder for our own. My husband and I cleared a site for our rock’s final resting place, and with the help of the neighbors, we proceeded to move it to its new home.

Of course, it took some jiggling and wiggling to place the rock properly. It doesn’t help when the two husbands banter good naturedly back and forth, accusing the other of errors and omissions. That adds time to any project but it also makes the task at hand a lot more fun.

The neighbor decided we had the wrong side facing out towards the driveway, so we turned the stone around, repositioned it, angled it slightly so anyone approaching the driveway could plainly see the monument, set it down, and hauled in a few bucket loads of dirt to secure our new acquisition firmly in place. What I figured would take about ten minutes actually took about an hour and a half until we all felt satisfied with the results of our labor.

We stood back to admire our new lawn ornament. It resembles a tombstone, a fact my neighbor remarked upon. He asked me if, while he had the tractor at the ready, I would like him to dig a gravesite in front of our newly planted headstone. He pointed to my husband and implied that a long, deep cavern might be a good place to stash my spouse when he got obstreperous.

I thought for a minute. A dungeon sounded like a good idea to me, to have on hand for either husband. We could also line the freshly dug hole with wood, place a piece of plywood over the gaping cavity, and have a ready-made interim root cellar to enjoy until the time arrived to use the hole for its original purpose.

Silly me, I declined the neighbor’s offer.

Every time I now look at our tombstone rock, I lament the fact that I did not have my neighbor dig us a 3’-7’-77’ hole. You never know when it might come in handy.


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