Pine Ridge Cemetery - Some Place New!
News Category: Cicada General Info
Pine Ridge Cemetery - Some Place New!
8:00 am - Pine Ridge Cemetery is a new cemetery I discovered while driving around looking for new places. It is located just off of Chelmsford Center on Rte 129. It looked pretty big so I decided to drive in and take a look.
I did find 6 exuvia on various pine and Maple trees but no Cicadas today.
I noticed over by the cemetery office there was a guy sort of standing around having a smoke and watching what I was doing. He was the only one there so I decided to go over and introduce myself. I figured that since I found signs of Cicadas and probably would be visiting here during the day and at night after hours that I'd better let someone know.
I walked up to the guy with the smoke and said, "Hey, howse-it going? You in charge here?"
"Me?", he replied. "Hell no I'm just a peeon worker. You'll want to talk to George. He's coming up right now, see?"
I looked over and saw a short stocky man drive up the driveway in a pick-up truck. I nodded my thanks to the peeon and walked over to the truck.
As George got out of the truck I asked, "George?" to which he nodded in affirmation.
"My name is Gerry and if you wouldn't mind I'd like to ask you a few questions about your trees." I always open up a conversation with this, it's much easier to segway into my real purpose.
George said ok and I noticed that he actually had a Greek-sounding accent but I wasn't sure on this. So I asked, "How old are your trees here?"
"Well, the oldest trees are about 50 to 60 years old. Some of the trees here I planted myself when I started 10 years ago. Those are over there."
He pointed to several young trees bordering the main roadway. Maples mostly.
"Ah! I see." I replied. "Well George let me tell you why I'm here. I'm doing a study on the Cicadas of Massachusetts, do you know what those are?"
"Cicada's? No. I never heard of them."
I promptly started with the life cycle of a Cicada and showed him the 5 or 6 exuvia I found on the trees in his cemetery. He suddenly became concerned and asked if they were pests and wanted to know if they were going to hurt his trees. Of which I promptly responded to the contrary.
"They won't harm your trees." I said. "In fact, the Cicadas have probably been here a lot longer than the cemetery has been here. Have you ever noticed these sort of shells on your trees before?"
"No actually. This is the first time I ever heard of them. Me and the guys are always mowing the lawns but I have never noticed them because I'm constantly looking at the ground so they go by un-noticed."
"Ok." I said. "Do you do anything to your trees like use fertilizer or spray for insects? Anything like that?"
"No. All we do is keep the undergrowth from growing around the trees."
I told George that I was studying the Cicadas and that he would see me from time to time wondering around the cemetery looking at the trees. I also asked him what time the cemetery closed at night.
"The cemetery never closes. There is a law in the Chelmsford town charter that say the cemeteries must be opened at all times."
"Really?" I responded. "Cemeteries? How many cemeteries in Chelmsford are there?"
George mentioned that there were 8 cemeteries in Chelmsford and that he and his crew of men were in charge of maintaining the grounds in all of them and that their main office was where we were standing.
Some of the cemeteries he mentioned I have actually been to.
"So George, I thought I'd let you know that I probably would be visiting this cemetery after hours and I just wanted to let you know. You know, just in case you get some reports of strange lights in your cemetery at night."
George looked at me and said, "I don't have a problem with that but you should be aware that the police patrol in here. We've had a few problems with vandalism at night. The kids come in and like to drink. If I were you I would let the superindendant know what you are doing and just make him aware."
"What's the super's name?"
"Ok, I'll check in with him. When do you expect him?
"He should be here any time now."
So George and I talked for a while about other things. While we were chatting, the rest of his crew finally showed up. Everyone had coffees in their hands. They had obviously stopped at Dunkin' Donuts before coming in. The crew's responsibility is to help in maintaining the cemetery grounds as well as moving and fixing the headstones and digging graves.
One guy in particular stuck out. An older, spry man by the name of Al.
George and I arrived to where the crew was standing. Al was in mid-conversation.
"...and boy am I sore as hell!!" Al exclaimed.
One of the crew turned to me and said, "Al was just telling us about last night. He has a 45 year old girlfriend and he's 76."
"Really?" I asked. "Jeeze Al congratulations you cradle robber you."
"Tell me about it." He responded. "Boy she loves it when I take that Viagra"
"You take Viagra?" I asked. "Does that stuff really work?"
"Hell yeah! You want some?"
Everyone started laughing. My face turned beat red and I said "No thanks!!"
This group of guys were really great, after I let them know what I was doing, they seemed really interested and starting treating me like I was one of them.
Eventually David Boyle the superindendant showed up and I introduced myself to him. He gave me his business card and indicated that he didn't have a problem with me coming in after hours.