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Columbia Cemetery
Excerpt from Manner Of Death

Columbia Cemetery New

     I jumped into my Land Cruiser and drove the few blocks to the old cemetery.  At first it seemed we'd arrived at the wrong location.  Within a minute, though, I began to hear the rhythmic thunder of big blades cutting through the air. The orange Flight for Life chopper approached from the southeast and landed smoothly in a dusty clearing on the south side of the cemetery. I watched the paramedics efficiently transfer first my wife and then my dog to the care of the Flight for Life nurses. Within a minute they were transferred into the cabin. Seconds later, the doors were pulled shut and the orange helicopter lifted off. A hundred feet above the ground the tail rose, the nose edged down, and the chopper accelerated back toward the southeast. The flight to Denver wouldn't take long.
     The paramedics shook my hand, said they were sorry, packed up their stretcher and their equipment, and drove away. That was that.

     I thought I was as alone in that graveyard as I'd ever been in my life. A breeze rustled the leaves of nearby ash trees and carried the aroma of a Saturday afternoon barbecue my way.
     A headstone right in front of me was inscribed "Tobias Shunt, 1846-1902. Rancher, Elder, Man of God." Beside him, an identical stone was inscribed simply "Wife."
     At that moment, I despised Tobias Shunt and hoped he'd had a painful death.

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