It’s not every day that a reader invites you to go tombstone shopping. So when Becky Mushko did — to replace one that was stolen five years ago — how could I resist?
That’s how I found myself at Add a Touch Monuments, just west of Rocky Mount on Monday morning, surveying Georgia granite display models.
“Have you ever seen anyone so excited about buying a tombstone?” asked Shirley Winingham, owner of Add a Touch.
The answer was certainly no.
Mushko, 66, is a freelance writer, retired Roanoke teacher and former English instructor at Ferrum College and author of the blog Peevish Pen.
She bought the tombstone seven years ago as a Christmas present for herself, she said.
Why does someone buy her own tombstone?
“I’m an only child, with no children, and my husband does not have very good taste,” Mushko explained. There was no telling what kind of ugly grave marker he would choose for her, so “I figured I’d better take care of it.”
Besides, Add a Touch Monuments was running a “5 percent off” sale back then and Mushko is a sucker for a bargain.
The stone she chose in 2005 was two feet wide and two feet tall, light gray with a polished front and back.
Together with its stone base, it weighed 800 pounds. It had Mushko’s name and birth date engraved on it, along with some grape leaves. Delivered, it cost $575.
She had it installed at her tiny, fenced-in family cemetery along Standiford Road in the Union Hall area of Franklin County. And then two years later it disappeared.
Why was it stolen? The answer to that one is much more complicated. The back story sounds like a plot from a redneck horror flick.
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