Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

An Argument for Eternity

An Argument for Eternity

Photograph via Flickr by rickpilot_2000

Editor’s note: Once a week, Laura Morton will use personal history to put a Craigslist ad into perspective.

The Story

I have an aunt and uncle who argue quite a bit. They argue about which way to pass food around the table. They fought once about which was a more popular bratwurst—red or white. And when they visited me when I worked in a small theater in the mountains of Virginia, they argued the entire time about whether or not the area was known for antiques.

About five years ago, I had the pleasure of sitting in their back seat over a long drive. My aunt played Bette Midler albums and my uncle stared at the road, willing himself not to hear the music. It wasn’t all that bad. My aunt told me how much she missed leftse and licorice Snaps since moving to the south, and my uncle said those were ridiculous things to miss.

My aunt comes from a small Irish farming community in North Dakota that has two cemeteries on the outskirts of town: Catholic and Protestant. She is Catholic. My uncle hails from a slightly larger German town where everyone is Lutheran.

There was moment of quiet on the drive as the flat landscape passed, when my uncle nonchalantly said that when they visited his mother’s, he wanted to stop by the cemetery to check on their plots.

“Whose plots?” my aunt asked, barely listening.

“What do you mean, whose plots? Our plots.”

“I’m not being buried there.”

“Of course you’re being buried there.”

“Not in that place.” My aunt shook her head and ate a handful of trail mix.

“You’re going to be buried next to your husband—where did you think you would be buried?”

“Anywhere else.” She looked out the window, picking through the trail mix for the peanuts.

“There is no ‘anywhere else.’ This is it.”

My aunt shrugged. “I’ll get a plot next to my parents. I don’t care, but I’m not going to be buried in a goddamn Lutheran cemetery.”

My uncle threw up his hands and grabbed his 60 oz. cup of ice. He chewed on the ice and then violently squeezed the cup into the holder. “You want the boys to have two plots to visit? What will that do to them?”

“Oh, you really think the boys are going to go to our graves? I wouldn’t want them to drive out of—”

“Yes—I expect them to visit our graves—that’s what you do!” My uncle took another mouthful of ice.

“I’ll tell ’em they don’t need to visit my grave, but to go to that casino, the one I like in Illinois—”

“Peoria—“

“Yes, Peoria—I think they’d like that. They have those pretty suites there with— “

“The Lutherans have always been good to you,” my uncle suddenly screamed.

“Sure—they don’t talk to us at church, but sure. Why don’t you get a plot next to me in my family plot?”

“Oh, just leave my mother alone like that? No thank you. That’s rude. Absolutely rude.”

And then silence carried us the rest of the way.

But just in case you were looking . . .

The Ad

east oregon craigslist > for sale / wanted > general for sale – by owner

Cemetery Lot – $345 (Pendleton)

Cemetery lot for sale in Olney cemetery in Pendleton, It’s in the old part of cemetery, Block 19, Lot 30.

Today’s value is $670. Yours for half price, will trade part or all. You can go into the Olney office or

call them at xxx-xxx-xxxx for more info. or call Mr. Fox at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thanks for looking.

The Response

Does it really matter where you’re buried? Why not save a little money on eternity and gamble the rest away?