Husband and I spent the weekend in Memphis with our friends, J and S, in a belated celebration of their wedding anniversary. We make a convivial group. Common interests include good food, chocolate martinis, and the Elmwood Cemetery. No, that’s not weird.
We go to Elmwood hoping to catch someone staffing the Visitor’s Cottage so we can rent the audio tour. Our plan is always to motor slowly along the narrow and cracked drive among the ancient stones and monuments while listening to the stories of those interred there. But our timing has never been right, and we have yet to get our hands on the audio. But that doesn’t take away from the serenity of the place, nor the beauty of the lichen-crusted statues. The road that leads to Elmwood is bordered by urban blight on both sides, but once inside the gates, peace reigns.
I like the old monuments best. Talented sculptors and stone masons have plied their trade here since the cemetery opened in 1852. Contemporary monuments sporting a pop art butterfly or dream chaser don’t have the same stately appeal.
While there on Saturday, we saw a couple of cars in the distance and heard the sounds of what might have been a church revival nearby. A woman and man walked among the graves, photographing statues, but with 80 acres to wander, we didn’t get in each other’s way. S and I got out of the car at various vantage points to see particular statues up close and to peer into a gated tomb. I took photos with my iPhone. Shafts of sunlight occasionally illuminated the stone, giving those photos a celestial touch. God is a great lighting director.
When we left, we vowed to try again next year. We’ll just start a little earlier in the day, like between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturdays, according to the sign on the cottage door.
Other great finds in Memphis that I highly recommend:
- The Elegant Farmer Restaurant at 262 S. Highland Street
- Penzey’s Spices at 6641 Poplar Avenue (Germantown)
- Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies (3 shops in the area)
- River Inn of Harbor Town
- Williams-Sonoma Outlet at 4708 Spottswood Avenue
(As always, opinions stated here are my own. Cookbook Wall does not have sponsors or advertisers. No goods were traded for mentions here. J, S, B, and I paid for all those excellent chocolate martinis at River Inn’s The Little Bar out of our own pockets.)