Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Guest Post: "Pet Cemetery"
Four times this spring and summer I found myself on South Tryon, south of Tyvola. Having grown up in south Charlotte, it wasn’t an unfamiliar area but one corner kept drawing, and has always drawn my eyes. The 7000 block is home to a plot of land that houses a fairly large pet cemetery. Drawing on some vague memory from my college years when my 23-year old Bassett Hound finally crossed ‘The Rainbow Bridge’, I began to grow curious about the cemetery, as the sign for it is now overgrown by the bushes around it, and the single shed-like structure in the center appears to be abandoned. Oddly enough though, the rest of it has been kept up. The lawn is always mowed and the rest of the bushes trimmed. I began to develop an overgrown sense of Nancy Drewitis and it finally got so bad that I grabbed my magnifying glass, cranked up my Mustang (which I don’t actually own), dyed my hair Titian-red, and did what Nancy Drew always did: I opened my web browser and “Googled it”.
But it took me three months to solve the mystery. Nancy Drew would have been so embarrassed. I could find no record of the Charlotte pet cemetery on South Tryon. Any reference to a pet cemetery in Charlotte always listed a Huntersville location. I asked a general question of my friends on Facebook. While there were some “likes” (that I still don’t understand because no one seemed to know what I was talking about), I got nowhere. All I wanted to know was who owned it, if it was still being used, what was its name, if my dog was buried there, like I was pretty sure was the case, and if so, where. In fact, the ONLY internet reference to that property was a very vague note in the Charlotte City Council minutes from the late 1970’s, mentioning it as an incidental thing to consider in a re-zoning discussion (if you suffer from insomnia, read back issues of City council notes). Other than that, there was nothing.
Google Earth Street View (I was beginning to feel like a stalker) got me as far as being able to see that from April 2007 until October 2011, the bushes around the sign on the street were still being trimmed… but the close-up picture wasn’t clear enough to show me the name of the place, so I finally got irritated enough to stop there one day. I pulled into the driveway, got out, walked past the creepy red shed (broken windows and all), and examined various graves, hoping to see the name “Popcorn Eddy” jump out at me from the rows. The latest grave I found was from 2012, so I counted that amongst my clues.
As a last resort, I “Googled”, “How to tell who owns a certain property”. And then I felt stupid because there were two obvious answers that “Wikihow” gave and I should have thought of: First, write the address a letter asking who owns it and see if you get a reply. I was fairly sure that any reply I’d get in return from a pet cemetery wasn’t one I truly wanted. But the second obvious answer was the light bulb I needed. “Death and taxes and even better if they go together.” So my next search was for the most recent property tax bill for that address. After two days of manually clicking through 800+ pages of the property taxes of South Tryon, I hit the jackpot. I just didn’t know it at first. The block of 7001 South Tryon through 7135 appeared to be all the same property. This was promising, yet confusing, because the name of the business that paid the taxes had nothing to do with a pet cemetery. “Terry’s Kennels” had paid the taxes on the property each year as far back as I could see. I’m a bit slow sometimes, so it took me just a bit to realize that there was a commonality here. My last step was to do a search for Terry’s Kennels and lo and behold… what should they also own, but the Charlotte Pet Cemetery in Huntersville. Was it really as simple as the South Tryon property being basically used up and hence, a new plot of land was needed to continue to lay to rest the beloved pets of Charlotte?
If ONLY I could put such whole-hearted devotion into my search for Christ. The fanaticism with which I searched like crazy and annoyed everyone around me with my obsessive quest to find the mystery behind this pet cemetery that existed in my mind, in front of my eyes and on Google Earth (and hence, it HAD to exist, right?) is sorely lacking when it comes to seeking out a relationship with Him. And worse, HE isn’t hiding in the internet, waiting to be found in an endless search through records and text books or by asking a question of the all-knowing Facebook. He’s right there, larger than life, always right in front of our eyes, waiting for us to turn our attentions His way… even knocking at OUR door, not leaving it up to US to go seek HIM. Evangelical tracks love to use Revelation 3:20 to get new members into the body of Christ, and that may be all well and good but if I’m not mistaken… John was talking to a segment of the CHURCH itself! These were people who should already have known and sought Him but would often times toss Him aside for other pursuits – just as we very easily do today. Can I seek Him with that whole-hearted devotion I have for mysteries of the past? Will I open the door to His knocking? It won’t even require opening up a browser and yet it’s often harder to do and something I struggle with daily, often as I’m in the middle of other things. Maybe it’s just time to find the door. I rejoice that He’s waiting on the other side.
(By the way… a simple text to my mother and brother informed me that my memory is already going. Popcorn was not, in fact, laid to rest in the mysterious pet cemetery. Where I remembered that from… will remain a mystery.)
Heather Eddy is the Assistant Director of Christian Education here at Sardis. When she is not working with the Sardis children’s programs or assisting the Fellowship Committee, she spends time teaching Anatomy and Physiology to pre-Nursing college students and CPR to anyone who cares to know it, traveling around the country with her roommate and best friend Michelle, and attempting to train her cats.