The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg Read Online (FREE)
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What can I tell you about the town? I suppose if you had driven through it back then, it might have looked like just another ordinary small town…but it wasn’t. I was born and raised there, so I know exactly what I am talking about. It wasn’t a wealthy town, either, but we all stuck together. And when we heard what had happened to Hanna Marie, everybody was upset. We all talked about it. Everybody vowed to do something about it. But never, in our wildest dreams, would anybody have guessed who would actually be the one to do it. Or, more importantly, how they would do it. But to tell you any more at this point might spoil the surprise. And who doesn’t like a good surprise? I know I do.
At age twenty-eight, Lordor Nordstrom had left his home in Sweden for America, looking for land to buy. Months later, while crossing down through southern Missouri, he found a large tract of good, rich land with plenty of natural springs, just right for a dairy farm. After he had cleared an area for his farm, he placed an ad in the Swedish-American newspapers for young farmers to come and start a new community and soon others joined him, bringing their families and farm animals with them. By 1880, a small farming community had formed that other people in the area called Swede Town, in spite of the fact that two Germans and one Norwegian (who was suspected of being Finnish) now lived there.
Today, Lordor Nordstrom stood on the top of a small hill looking over the long expanse of rolling green meadows and little white farmhouses below. It was so quiet and peaceful up here, nothing but the sound of birds and distant cowbells. He could see there was a most pleasant view from every angle. Exactly what he had been looking for.
He would donate this land to the community and name it Still Meadows. Walking back down the hill, Lordor felt very pleased with himself. As the original settler, he felt a great responsibility to the settlers who had come after him. And he had just found the perfect spot for their final resting place in the upcoming years.
In the following weeks, Lordor and all the local men cleared the land on the hill and began measuring and blocking out rows of burial plots. Each plot was given a number, written out in both Swedish and English, so there would be no confusion. They built a nice wooden arch as an entrance that was carved with flowers and read STILL MEADOWS CEMETERY, ESTAB. 1889.
After all the landscaping was complete, Lordor called a meeting out at his farm, and announced that since they were all first settlers, their plots would be free, first come, first served, which seemed to Lordor the only fair way to do it. In the future, any newcomers would be charged fifty cents a plot.