I appeared in front of the Russian River Cemetery District Board of Directors last week at their monthly meeting. I was ushered in to what must be their chapel. They had set up a table in front where all of the board members sat, and then a crosswise table at each end. One end was for me and the other end was for the chairperson. All of the members had piles of paper work in front of them. It was very impressive for getting $1000 per month for attending just one meeting a month
I was offered a seat at the center of the end table. Chairperson Carol was seated at the opposite end of the table at another table positioned crosswise. All five members were present. Carol called on me to speak. I stood and read a short sentence to the board. “Are you prepared to reset my brother’s headstone, at no expense to me baring a legal challenge?” This is either a yes or no answer. The Chairperson, Carol Connerton seemed to have trouble with the question and after a few minutes of no definitive answer I told them I would take that as a no answer, and left the meeting.
I no sooner got in my car than Mr. Jaymen was knocking at the window. The board was having trouble with my statement. Would I change the wording to read “court order” rather than “legal challenge”? So, I changed the wording on the little yellow notepad and gave back it to him. Jaymen asked me to wait for just a minute while he ran back into the meeting room. I waited just a short time and again Jaymen was at my window. The board wanted me to sign my handwritten note. I agreed, and off went Jaymen. This whole détente reminded me when Secretary of State Kissinger was flying between the Arabs and the Palestinians trying to bring peace to the region. He flew in Air Force Two and it was parked right in the middle of the Cairo airport so no other plane could get by. We were on the tarmac for what seemed like hours.
Jaymen came back again and now the board wanted me to come back into the meeting room. Back in the meeting room the board now had legal counsel. On the speaker phone they had the cemetery district’s attorney. He would like to offer some advice. He went on and on and I could see his bill increasing by the minute. He could not guarantee that my brother’s headstone would permanently stay installed if someone objected to it being there.
That was enough for me right now. I had other things to do than fight for the installation of my brother’s headstone. I’ll leave it sitting right where it is. Carol stated for the record that it was a mystery how the headstone got dug up and wound up in the cemetery’s shop. Must be a ghost at the cemetery. Let’s call it cemeterygate.
I wonder if the district will refund the money I paid them to install it in 2007? And, how about the expense I had to move it from the district’s shop? And how about an expense I would have to move it back to the cemetery?
On the following Thursday the unthinkable happened. I received an email from the cemetery’s office with an attachment. The attached letter is a declaration dated May 22, 2019 just one day after meeting with the board. It stated: We, Valerie Shrum and Lynne Christensen, give permission for the Russian River Cemetery District to place William Dempel’s memorial headstone in Block S-5 Lot 10 South West ¼, grave #5, first stone area. This document is witnessed by none other than office person Kornegay. Christensen lives in Ukiah but Shrum lives out of the area, or did. Someone on the board had to exercise some common sense and stop this foolishness. I wish to thank them. Now all the district has to do is guarantee that barring a court order the headstone will remain in the Historic Crawford lot.