For some reason I found myself reflecting this morning on the fact that Mr. Sacca is not home. Mr. Sacca is dead, but he is not home. Now, this may sound a bit cryptic to anyone who already hasn’t heard me tell the story. So, I will explain.
There is a cemetery in Omaha called Holy Sepulchre. It is actually a pretty nice cemetery. Pretty old. There are a number of different grave styles, some going way back. A mixture of stone markers (both simple and complex, new and as old as the late 1800’s), mausoleums, statues, crypts, and even some trees and things. It isn’t golf course style either. It appears to have been built on a natural area so it is actually aestetically pleasing. All in all not bad as far as boneyards go.
There is one particular monument style, from around the early part of the century or so, that particularly concerns us here. I would describe this style as half mausoleum/half ordinary grave. It is dug straight down into the ground, about six feet as graves often are, but is not filled in with dirt. Rather, the inside is lined with stone (maybe limestone). There is a stone platform around the grave and a stone lip projecting up a couple inches from the grave, upon which a stone slab (usually carved) rests. So, it’s like a grave but stone-lined and with a lid on top instead of being filled in with dirt.
Now, there is only a small section of these at Holy Sepulchre, all in the same area. It must have been the style at the time (to paragraphs Grampa Simpson), but must have gone out of fashion relatively quickly. One of these half mausoleum/half ordinary graves (the only one I’ve ever paid attention to), bears the name Guiseppe Sacca.
Mr. Sacca’s monument is very pretty. There is a nice carved slab and a stone marker in front with a statue of Mary. Along with the details of his life (He died somewhere in his twenties around 1914 or so, I believe) there is also an old ceramic picture of the man. He appeared quite stylish. The monument is a class act all the way.
Now, the stylishness was not what made me notice Mr. Sacca. I noticed the monument because there was some damage to that stone lip I talked about that came out of the ground upon which the lid rested. Specifically, there was a hole.
Now, at first I could not see anything but darkness. However, as the years went by, I noticed that the damage had increased. At one point enough light was getting inside that I realized I could look right to the bottom. So I did. Morbid? Perhaps. However, all I saw at the bottom was a couple wood beams (probably tossed in to lower the coffin onto) and some cheap old white tennis shoes (doubtlessly thrown in later through the hole as they were not vintage turn of the century but rather 80’s-90’s. I did not see a coffin or the remenants of one. No body. Mr. Sacca was gone.
So, even with all the impressiveness of his monument, Mr. Sacca is not home. Where could he have gone?
My immediate thought was that the coffin had been stolen. People do dumb stuff like that, particularly in places like Nebraska. That stone slab on top was probably extremely heavy, but not too much for a good number of people to pivot and slide off. Maybe that’s how the stone lip got damaged, removal and replacement of the slab. How would they have gotten the coffin out? I don’t know. All I do know is that Mr. Sacca may be residing in some goth idiot’s bedroom (no offense intended generally to those of the goth persuasion, just anyone who kidnapped Mr. Sacca).
Of course, there are other possibilities. The grave might not, in fact, have been robbed. It is possible that the cemetery caretakers or Mr. Sacca’s descendents noticed the damage and moved the body. Perhaps to a family crypt (I’m guessing the Sacca family was wealthy by the beauty and ornateness of the monument). However, why abandon such a nice monument? Why not just fix it? If Mr. Sacca moved to a family crypt, why no little metal plaque added to that effect?
Lastly, I also recognize the possiblity, however remote, that Mr. Sacca simply left on his own accord. Perhaps he did not dig his monument the way I did. Perhaps he wanted to see the world. Maybe he even had secret plans to dominate the world from back alleys and had to get moving. Maybe there was never a body in the grave at all; maybe Mr. Sacca is immortal. Regardless, it leaves me asking the question (paraphrased from a Kerouac quote I read in a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic): Whither goes thou, Mr. Sacca? I mean, man, whither goest thou in thy shiny black coffin in the night?