The Dart: Group stops at cemetery

Published 8:19 am Monday, October 22, 2007

NATCHEZ — The group of four friends take trips around the country, touring the sights on their motorcycles.

But they always take time to make a special stop.

“My wife loves old cemeteries,” Allan Kilpatrick said. “Everywhere we travel, if there’s an old cemetery, we go look at it.”

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Well, not everywhere, his wife, Teresa, said. But every chance they get.

“I love trying to find the oldest grave,” she said.

The couple, along with Allan Kilpatrick’s brother, James, and his wife, Shirley, drove up from Saucier, La., for the balloon race this weekend.

While biking around town, they saw a sign pointing them to the Natchez City Cemetery.

The cemetery was something different to do in one of the oldest cities on the Mississippi River.

“We went Under-the-Hill, too,” James Kilpatrick said. “But we have plenty of casinos down on the coast.”

One family member’s interest in old cemeteries is deep-rooted.

“We have a cemetery on our family’s property,” Shirley Kilpatrick said. “One grave goes all the way back to 1808.”

The cemetery’s draw is the beauty of the monuments and the untold tales, Shirley Kilpatrick said. That holds true with the Natchez cemetery, too.

“When we were riding in, I thought, there must be so many stories here,” she said.

Some moments are especially moving, she said.

“That angel back there,” Shirley Kilpatrick said. “That angel almost got me.”

But visiting cemeteries isn’t all seriousness. When the group came upon a tomb where a man was reportedly buried sitting in his rocking chair, it sparked a conversation.

James Kilpatrick joked he’d like to be buried with all his toys — motorcycle and all.

“See,” he said, pointing to the tomb. “It’s not so unusual for me to want to be buried with my motorcycle.”