My husband, Earl, and I are natives of Perry County, although we now reside in Louisville, Ky. We visit the area often since we have many friends and family members who have remained there. During these visits, we stop at the Riverside Cemetery to care for the grave sites of our daughter, Susan Ann Duff, and my parents, Leonard “Mac” and Gladys McAfee. My parents lived at Hardburly, where my father was a coal miner while my mother taught school for over 40 years. We consider Perry County our home, and plan to be interred at Riverside. We paid for perpetual care when we purchased the lots in the ’60s. Since that time, all lots have been sold, and maintenance has been unreliable. Ishmael Stacy was dependable for years, followed by occasional mowing by workers sent by county officials. We appreciate the efforts of all concerned, and would be happy to pay for regular mowing.
Upkeep of the cemetery has been a major problem for years. However, another concern has become even more pressing for everyone with a friend or family member laid to rest at Riverside. Anyone passing the cemetery on the road from Walkertown to Darfork is shocked to see the contents of the local recycling center have blocked the view and desecrated this place that means so much to so many in our mountain community. This heap of junk and metal scraps is an eyesore that should not be allowed anywhere, much less bordering a cemetery. We mountain folk cannot expect people from other areas to appreciate the natural beauty of our hills when rubbish and other signs of neglect litter our roadways. Our culture can be judged by the way we maintain our schools, homes, churches, and burial grounds.
Many of us would be eager to help any civic or church group willing to work toward the improvement of Riverside Cemetery. However, government officials should demand the owners of the recycling facility to clean up the deplorable mess they have created. Where is our pride?
Marybelle McAfee Duff