Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, the holiday of love. I recently heard a memorable story about how we're sometimes called upon to do unusual things for our loved ones, even if the task could get us into a bit of trouble.
It's a story about a man who lived in Mount Pleasant his entire life, born and raised near the center of town. He married, had children and worked in construction for 40 years right here in eastern Cabarrus County.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2000, he died in 2003 and was cremated.
I asked his daughter why her father chose to be cremated. Though he always said there was no reason to bury him, she pointed to her mother's influence on his even considering cremation.
Her mother had long planned to be cremated, declaring that if she couldn't be successful as a gardener while she was living, she'd rather be fertilizer in death.
The plan was to scatter the father's ashes at a road construction site. The family owned property near the intersection of the town's two highways, and they waited for years for roadwork to extend there, but as the years passed, it became clear that that part of the highway would not be widened, and the family eventually sold the property.
So Father's ashes remained, and the family looked for another opportunity. Finally, last summer they got their chance.
If you traveled through Mount Pleasant at all last summer, you got used to a lot of construction delays while Franklin Street, right in the center of town, was closed and dug up. The man's daughter got thinking that since her father had spent his formative years right there near the center of town, this construction project could be the means to fulfill his wishes regarding his remains.
So one Sunday evening, when all was quiet at the site, the daughter and her best friend went for a walk. They began at Moose Drug Store and walked toward What-a-Burger, scattering ashes as they went. Mother followed along to witness the event.
The next morning, the work crews were back and installed new sidewalks along Franklin Street, covering those ashes from the night before.
Now this man of Mount Pleasant is forever a physical part of the town, interred right at its heart, and by means of the occupation he practiced for so many years.
What a fitting end that is to a life well-lived, and how wonderful it is that his family was able to carry out his last wishes.
Since I heard this story, I can't drive through Mount Pleasant without grinning as I think of these three ladies scattering ashes on a warm summer night, knowing they are fulfilling a loved one's wishes and not really caring if doing so is a little unorthodox.
Love really does beat all, doesn't it?