Tuesday, February 28, 2012

St. Elmo

I was going through some old song lyrics the other night when I came upon a song I’d written years ago that I’d totally forgotten about. I wrote it after spending a lot of time in an old silver mining ghost town in Colorado. St. Elmo was its name. No relation to Sesame Street, but it was an incredibly fascinating place in itself. See, when the price of silver dropped in the late 1800s, the folks of St. Elmo just locked their doors and went back down the mountain convinced the price would rise again soon and they’d be back. It never did...and they never returned. So, there were houses still full of furniture, barns that still held wagons and tools, stores that still had some canned goods on the shelves and streets haunted by broken souls with broken silver dreams. The cemetery at St. Elmo was just behind the town hidden in a small grove of Aspens. It wasn’t very big...St. Elmo wasn’t very big. It was however, filled mostly with children. Victims of small pox, mumps, measles and the flu…all deadly to the children of the late 1800s. If the miner’s didn’t strike it rich they moved on. When the miners moved on the storekeepers moved on. And when the price of silver dropped the rest of the town moved on. These children couldn’t move on though. St. Elmo would be their final resting place. I remember standing there among the carved wooden and simple stone markers, some with wrought iron cradles over the graves. One cracked wooden marker caught my eye…Sadie Mullins…Borned May 5, 1879… Passed Dec. 24, 1881. That's all it said. Rest in peace little girl. It was a joy to remember you.
“Sometimes in the evening,
If the wind is blowing right,
You’ll hear the banshee in the canyon,
And she’s crying like a child in the night.”

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