Sunday, October 07, 2012
Dr. Theresa and I took a little trip up the Natchez Trace. We came upon the grave of the famed explorer Meriwether Lewis. The wording on the stone reads in part, "His melancholy death occurred where this monument now stands and under which rest his mortal remains." The other markers around are kind of hazy about what happened to Lewis, but if you go into the little cabin they have set up nearby and look at the objects displayed, you'll find a book with laminated pages, glued to a shelf. It's a copy of an eyewitness account of Lewis's death, and it is TERRIBLE (prior to the excerpt I am going to present here, Lewis has apparently shot himself twice), so don't read this: Lewis says to his host, Mrs. Grinder, "'Dear madam, look at my wounds.' She asked him what made him do so? He replied, 'If I had not done it somebody else would.'... He attempted to cut his throat, but was prevented. Some of the neighbors were called in. He frequently cried out, 'Oh how hard it is to die, I am so strong.'" This happened earlier: "About dark two or three other men rode up and called for lodging. Mr. Lewis immediately drew a brace of pistols, stepped towards them and challenged them to fight a duel. They not liking this salutation, rode on to the next house, five miles. This alarmed Mrs. Grinder. Supper, however, was ready in a few minutes." Nobody knows what really happened. But "click" here for a "web" site that lists several theories and quotes from many contemporary documents. Some hours after visiting Lewis's grave, Dr. Theresa and I happened to pull into a Ramada Inn that is adjacent to a weathered old graveyard. No, not adjacent, that's too mild. The old graveyard seems to be PART of the Ramada Inn. There's no fence or anything. You just park your car inches away from a tombstone. THIS IS THE PLACE FOR US, we thought.