I decorate grave sites during the early morning hours. This being Veteran’s Day Weekend I put out plenty of American Flags along with flower arrangements. At dawn it will be a sight to behold.

I love my job, but I must admit I do sometimes get a bit creeped out.

I bring candy for any ghostly children who may be around and some extra flowers for the ladies . . . and the gentlemen are quite fond of Jack Daniels, so I have some bottles ready for them, too. These are all ghostly apparitions that appear while I’m working.

It’s nice that they’re used to me, but as long as I’ve been doing this, I can’t help but be startled from time to time.

I pretty much thought that I’ve seen it all, but I did get a bit of a scare when a floating head followed me into the cemetery. It was just bobbing along beside the truck on the passenger side.

It reminded me of the bouncing ball that used to be used to follow the words in the song on cartoons and old Mitch Miller television programs.

Thoughts like this pop into my mind at the craziest times, but I’ve found it better to laugh about something creepy than be scared. It may be what has allowed me to do this job for so many years.

The shadows seemed to be alive.

Dark spots seemed to dart behind tall gravestones or trees. My initial thought that kids were out, but it is a closed cemetery. I suppose there is always a way inside other than through the main gate, but I hadn’t heard about it . . . other than the underground tunnel, but that was blocked off years ago . . . or that’s what the city wants us to believe . . . some have denied they had ever existed.

I concentrated on the job I had to decorate all the grave sites. It was going to be a long night. I started at dusk, when the gates were closed. I knew someone would be back around midnight to let me out, but until then I was alone in the cemetery . . . except for the ghostly residents.

I’m used to having the feeling of being watched, but the shadows moving in the darkness were new to me as was the bobbing ghostly head.

I was singing patriotic songs in my head as I worked, but creepy songs seemed to drown them out. I thought about “Monster Mash” which I always found enjoyable, but it was soon replaced with “Do you ever think as a hearse goes by, that you may be the next to die? They wrap you up in a big white sheet from your head down to your feet. They put you in a big black box, and  cover you up with dirt and rocks. All goes well for about a week, then your coffin begins to leak. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout. They eat your eyes, they eat your nose, they eat the jelly between your toes. A big green worm with rolling eyes, crawls in your stomach and out your eyes. Your stomach turns a slimy green, and pus pours out like whipping cream. You spread it on a slice of bread, and that’s what you eat when you are dead.” . . . I got a chill.

I kept working. That last song stayed in my mind much longer than I felt comfortable.

A baseball rolled up beside me. I knew that was Billy, a young boy I’ve seen at the cemetery from time to time and who, along with his ghostly friends come to my house at Christmas . . . but that’s a different story for another time.

I set a box of Junior Mints beside the baseball. I knew Billy liked them and would share them with his friends. I did feel a little more relaxed knowing Billy was there and forgot about the shadows . . . and the disgusting song.

There was a slight breeze that gave a gentle nudge to the leaves that seemed to whisper throughout the cemetery from tree to tree. Fortunately, the dark shadows were still.

I got that cold chill again. Checking my watch and looking around, I knew I had no time to entertain my imagination. I had an hour to finish up and meet the caretaker at the gate.

I moved the truck to light up the last section of the cemetery. I worked in silence — no songs popped in my head, but something strange did happen. I heard and then saw flowers being placed at the far end of the cemetery. It may have been the soldiers I brought the Jack Daniels for helping me out.

With the help of my ghostly soldiers, I finished early and waited at the gate for the caretaker. He seemed pleased to see me. I usually have a bottle of Jack Daniels for him, but my ghostly helpers, helped themselves to all the bottles along with the flowers they placed for me. If the caretaker wanted one, he’d have to deal with the soldiers.

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