Dear Madam Editor,
We are writing to address the information stated in your article about Lynn Cemetery. First, it should be noted that the issue of donations stems from the inquiry of a tombstone shoved forward on its base. It was obvious that a piece of lawn equipment hit the tombstone, shoving it forward. When a member of the "Cemetery Fund Committee" was contacted about how to handle this situation, we were asked if we donated to the cemetery fund. When we replied that it shouldn't matter, we were told that it does. The conversation got heated and we decided to hang up. We did find out who currently mows the cemetery.
We set up a meeting with him to discuss the mowing procedures and the shoved tombstone. We were told his mower doesn't fit behind the tombstone, and he wished he had a smaller one. While we were there, we noticed our stone had been moved back to its original position. We never asked anyone to touch it, especially without us present. We now had a tombstone that rocked back and forth on its base.
We called the other member of the committee, and he met us at the grave site the next morning. He said he would try and help us. Unfortunately, he did not have the appropriate equipment and only helped us make the stone even more unstable. He asked us if we had any glue. We knew at this point that we were going to have to call a professional, but who is liable? Apparently, we were, according to the ridiculous “misworded" sign posted. One of these men actually said that if he did hit a stone he probably wouldn't admit it. Another said that he had hit one of the older stones and had to get help just to pick it back up. We called a professional company and were told it would cost $150. No one was willing to help us now. We had the stone fixed and were educated on how it was done. It is not a procedure that just any person can do.
Our next concern is about the sign and the donations given to the committee. The sign clearly states the donations are used for cemetery maintenance. In our opinion, whether the sign is misworded or not, maintenance should include trash pick up, mowing and any other general maintenance of a cemetery, not the blatant throwing away of flowers just because 30 days is up. The problem is that all of the grave sites are owned by individuals. The rules stated in the sign would be like a stranger coming to our house and telling us what we can and can't do on the property. We were told we could opt out of the general mowing to avoid any future issues. We are not sure if other families are aware of this option, but one of the committee members does his own maintenance. We also realize that most families would not choose to do so.
There has to be a happy medium for all involved, and this should be discussed with all owners that want to have a say so. Especially when it comes to who is hired to mow the grass.
Lastly, asking the city to get involved in any way with the cemetery is inappropriate due to (the identity of) the person mowing the grass. It is a conflict of interest all the way around. Now, of course, if the city wants to take over the cemetery, then there would be no need for donations because the city employees could mow. We don't see this happening any time in the near future, which brings us back to the need for donations.
We are sure that some resolution can happen, but the Cemetery Fund Committee needs to communicate the correct information in an appropriate fashion to all grave site owners.
Thank you for allowing us to state another side to your story.
Dena and Danny Barton,
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.