Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where the latch string always is out ...

It's been an odd day as I played with blogger and otherwise diverted myself online while trying to avoid the disaster that resulted when I started sorting the office. The biggest mess, until this morning confined neatly to a large closet, now is spread over three rooms and is just appalling.

So I started one post, then realized I'd get nothing done all week if I devoted to it the research time needed to complete it. Saved that as a draft and will come back to it. Completed another post that seemed inappropriate once I'd finished it. Saved that as a draft, too, but intend to kill it.

But while sorting photographs (why do we save out-of-focus photos of scenery we no longer recognize?) I found some shots of one of North Iowa's prettiest churches, Lime Creek Synod Lutheran north of Lake Mills up by the state line in Winnebago County. These snapshots are at least 20 years old, but the church hasn't changed much. It's classic Norwegian Lutheran, virtually untouched inside and out.

It's also kind of historic. As the Lutheran wars wound down during the first two decades of the 20th Century, delegates from conservative Lutheran congregations met here to organize the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, now headquartered in Mankato, Minn.

One of the stars of the show in the Lime Creek graveyard is this tombstone in the shape of a log cabin marking the grave of Chr. Anderson. Note that the door's latch string is out.

At the time, I thought the tombstone was unique. But some years later while visiting the Metier Cemetery north of Garden Grove in Decatur County I found it's twin, marking the grave of Samuel and Julia Metier.

So I've concluded that both the Andersons and the Metiers probably found their stones in a catalog of some sort and ordered up models personalized with their own inscriptions. The stones probably are carved from limestone, but appear to have weathered hardly at all.

And of course if there are two there must be more of these cabins scattered around out there in other cemeteries.

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