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Shane Tucker

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The Wager
By Shane Tucker   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010

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When I was 10, my dad told me of an old graveyard in the forest. For a year, I constantly begged to go see it. Finally, Dad made an offer I couldn't refuse. Here is the story of what followed.

Things are always scarier when you are young. As a boy, I distinctly remember cemeteries creeped me out. I enjoyed visiting them in the daytime, as I would sometimes walk to an old graveyard near my grandmother's house, but during the night I couldn't get far enough away from them.

The year was 1985. Halloween loomed just around the corner when my dad and I discussed an old (almost ancient to me at that age) graveyard situated beside Powell Valley High School. It was a family cemetery, if I remember correctly or at least a very small one, because there were maybe a total of 50 markers.

I didn't even realize a cemetery stood there until Dad told me, because you couldn't see it from a distance. Tall weeds and trees knotted the entire yard, blocking the stones from view.

"Did you know there is a cemetery in there?" Dad asked me.

"Where?" I asked.

"In that big bunch of trees. It's pretty old."

Thinking that he was lying, I asked, "Well, who's buried in there? Indians or something?" I always pictured Indian burial grounds in wooded areas, for some reason.

"No, it's just a family cemetery, I believe," Dad said. "But there are some really old markers in there. Some from the late 1700's."

To a 10-year-old, the 1700's seemed like a million years ago. "Can we go in there and look?" I asked.

"Maybe another day," he answered. Then he asked me in his playful, chiding voice, "You don't think you'll be scared?"

"No!" I said. "I'm not afraid of a stupid graveyard."

So our conversation continued sporadically over the next year or so.


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