by Lynne Belluscio
I think God made a bet with Mother Nature a couple of weeks ago. “ Bet you can’t drop that maple tree on top of the Whitney tombstone in Section B of Macpelah Cemetery - - - and it has to topple the 8 foot granite pillar on the top and not break - - - and the tree has to stay on the tombstone with the roots 12 feet off the ground.” Well Mother Nature didn’t blink an eye. She brought in 80 mile per hour winds, and that huge maple just pulled out of the ground, tipped over the granite pillar, and came to rest just as neat as a pin, on top of the Whitney family stone. And while she was at it, she toppled a tree right in the entrance and wiped out the cemetery sign. And there’s a tree down over by the fence by the Jell-O factory. Limbs and branches are all over the place, and last fall’s leaves that didn’t get picked up, are in soggy heaps. Oh and did I mention the huge dead maple tree that was cut down recently that needed ten men and a boy to move.
Well, as it turns out, it was ten boys and a man who came to the rescue. Ed Henry came over to Macpelah last Saturday with Barney Mase and started to work. On Sunday he called in the Storm Troopers. As you can see in the photograph, they look a lot like members of the LeRoy Knights football team. Armed with rakes and several large plastic barrels, they went to work. They kept three pick up trucks running to the dump site, over and over again. Ed brought in a few neighbors, Tom and Stella Sherman and his best friend Karen Barrera. The guy on the chainsaw was Paul McGowan, who for five hours worked his way through the huge pile of logs near the old dead maple tree. This was not a job for the timid. At the end of the day, a lot of the storm damage had been removed.
As Ed says, this is why you live in a small town. Volunteers pitch in to help. And since it is National Volunteer Week, it should be mentioned that there are a lot of other volunteers who have helped out at the cemetery. Judd Crocker got 16 members of his family to work in Section H. The prisoners from the Wyoming County Jail worked a couple of days this last week. On May 17, 24 members of United Way will be participating in One Great Day of Sharing and they will come to the cemetery to continue the work. Later in the month volunteers from the Historical Society will place 500 flags for Memorial Day. Last fall, a group of kids from the school did a cemetery tour, and donated money back to the Cemetery for a special project.