An unmarked grave.
The hot, blazing sun beats down upon the cracked red clay.
Grass and weeds indiscriminately appear but do not cover the parched earth.
Sadness overtakes me.
Just a little over a year ago Chris and I had the privilege of taking Dancin’ Dave out to lunch at the Blue Plate Diner in Dothan, Alabama. I did a blog post, of course, because it was such a memorable event. You can read that here if you missed it.
Dave Whatley was an icon in the Wiregrass area of Alabama. He walked or hitched a ride from passers by wherever he went. He worked various labor jobs over the years. He smiled and waved and loved children.
But he was known for his dancing. He loved to dance and did a Dancin’ Dave shuffle whenever asked.
On my recent trip to Dothan I decided to go pay my respects since it has been a year since his death.
What I found ripped my heart apart.
A grave with absolutely no marking at all to set it apart from the hundreds of other graves in Memory Hill Cemetery is what I found.
What happens to people like Dave who have limited family and limited means?
This. This is what happens.
An unmarked grave that is forgotten by the side of the road in a cemetery.
It makes me weep.
Dave’s legacy was more than an unmarked grave.
My friend Debbie Yurevich was the one who introduced me to Dave and she grieves along with me on the lack of a marker. I suspect the lack of a marker of some sort will change if we have anything to do about it.
Dave was one of a kind. I was blessed to meet him and spend some time with him just a month before he passed. One of the best videos that Debbie ever got of him was the one that follows. (You will have to click on the link as I could not embed it.)
RIP Dancin’ Dave. You are missed more than an unmarked grave can show.