This past week my husband and I spent a few hours doing some community service at the Pringle Cemetery helping mow, weed eat, and clean up trash around the headstones.
Like a lot of small rural towns, our cemetery is maintained by community volunteers; most of which consist of families who have lived here for generations. The Kirk’s are one of the families that have been here a long time.
John A. Kirk homesteaded north of Pringle.
My husband and another volunteer recalled the days when they were kids who came out every year to help clean up the cemetery as part of their 4-H club’s community service project and didn’t have a lot of the fancy lawn equipment to do trim work that’s used nowadays.
The temperature was in the upper 80’s the day we helped but I didn’t mind because I was distracted with viewing all the different names on all the headstones; many familiar but some unfamiliar. As I mowed and trimmed I thought about those who were members of our community before us. Some headstones were hidden in amongst the lillac bushes.
For me, mowing and trimming around each headstone was my way of memorializing Pringle’s citizens and remembering them. Although mowing and trimming is not one of my favorite tasks, I didn’t mind so much and actually took more care in doing my job. I felt it was the least I could do for those before my family and me that helped build and had contributed in their unique way to the community I’m grateful to be a part of and call home.
In addition to ranching and logging, mining has also been a prominent industry in the Pringle area and several headstones reflect those who mined for a living. These are some of my favorite headstones.
The backs of these headstones were just as beautiful.
There is also numerous gravesites that incorporated rose quartz; South Dakota’s state mineral which is prominent in Custer county.
This was one of my favorites because I love the purple stones.
Some were a mystery that I couldn’t help but wonder who these people were.
As I worked in rows around each headstone, I enjoyed being surrounded by neighbors and other town citizens that turned out to help and thought about how oftentimes we spend time together celebrating a special occasion and other times mourning together at the very place we were working.
When my father-in-law passed away, money from his memorial was used to replace two of the three sets of Pringle’s cemetery gates.
These gates reflect the wildlife that frequent the Pringle area.
Even though it’s sometimes difficult to recruit new volunteers to help and there’s a lot of work to do to get the cemetery cleaned up and ready for Memorial Day weekend, I’m glad that it’s all done by volunteers that live in Pringle and not by a paid employee like most city cemeteries. Pringle residents are proud of our town and we take special care of our own, living and passed on.
I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend.