Of course, everyone had loved ones buried in the cemetery that ringed the church. Many of the headstones were so old and weathered, it was hard to tell who lay beneath. Most of the grave markers were modest stone; some were quite meager, carved from hardwoods, but they were still no match for the harsh winters. A few graves were marked with enormous stones, revealing the wealth that had been reserved for the small ruling class of eras long past. There had been no new stones like that for hundreds of years.
As the final hymn ended, Freida stole out through the tall, intricately carved doors and ran back to the black oak. She watched as the families inside wandered out, chatting with friends only seen on Sundays, and eventually climbed into their waiting buggies. The single farmers congregated together for some time, laughing and slapping each other on the back. Freida knew some of those farmers to be quite funny, but that her mother often didn’t approve of the jokes. The men eventually either rode home on their waiting horses, or simply hiked off in the direction of their farms.
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