March 10, 2011
Yesterday morning, four of us (three staff members and one volunteer-in-training) ventured out into the cemetery. We were being taught a newly-created tour of the cemetery called "The Scots-Irish of Elmwood".
The staff and volunteers of Elmwood have led approximately a million (give or take a thousand) history-based tours of the cemetery. One would think after years of leading tours, burn-out would occur. How many times can one tell the same story before it grows tiresome?
The answer is never.
Walking through the cemetery yesterday, the group commented on how refreshing it was to leave the confines of the Cottage and be outside once again among the flowering Tulip Poplars and Rebuds. In the overcast light, century-old monuments seem to reveal themselves to those of us who are the most familiar with the grounds, and we found ourselves pointing out "new" things to each other. Here was a monument embedded with primrose and a weeping willow that we hadn't noticed; here again, a perfectly white, minature marble lamb, reminding us of the children we guard in perpetuity.
Yesterday we learned of the immigrants from Scotland and Ireland who helped to build the city. Some would become mayors in their lifetimes. Others, Civil War Generals, yellow fever heroes, doctors, and bankers. One would build the Mallory-Neely House. Another would found the Leath Orphan Asylum.
There is never a moment when leading tour groups or learning new tours becomes dull. Consider becoming a volunteer tour guide at Elmwood Cemetery and your efforts will reward you in ways you cannot anticipate.
I assure you, that's been our experiece.