Friday, September 24, 2010
Once I found out Hemingway was buried in my veritable backyard, I had to visit. Backyard by my terms meaning only a 6 or 7 hour drive away. I have put my foot down all over North America and thus this really didn't seem that far away.
I was already in Montana for my brothers graduation and the return trip home through Idaho could be reconfigured. Instead of the usual left hand way home, I took the right at Salmon Idaho, toward Ketchum, following the river along highway 93.
Up and down jagged mountains. It was beautiful, fair weather with a scattering of clouds kaleidoscopicing sunbeams all day. Going up the last staggering mountain, the gas tank went from a quarter tank to empty. Once we reached the summit and came down the tank returned to quarter full and the gaslight went dim.
We found ourselves in a wondrous green valley. A sign said Ketchum 2 miles, but I could see nothing but trees. Then rounding a bend, multitudes of fancy homes spread before us. It was a yuppie paradise. I imagined Hemingway rolling over in his grave at the sight of some of these fancy-pants shops and foo-foo emporiums.
It didn't take long driving the main road to find the cemetery. Pulling up close to the gate, the place was deserted. I was glad, I wanted this to be personal and private. It is not a very big cemetery, maybe 100 yards by 300 yards, but it had some cool pines and lush grass.
I had little trouble finding the grave site, they were near the center under the pines. Big marble slabs, his wife and son and a few others nearby. I felt the polished stone, read its simple inscription and reflected.
I didn't need to be here to feel close to him. His books did that already, the kinship in similar perspectives on life. But I wanted to come here as a tribute of my appreciation, to pay my respects for his work.