… didn’t ya notice? Globe doesn’t have a graveyard.”
“No? I thought every western town had a boot hill.”
“Well, they planned to, but the first time they tried to bury somebody, somethin’ odd happened. There come up such a thunderstorm, the arroyos filled up and flooded the whole town. The place they had staked out for the graveyard was clean under water, and they had to go several miles up the road to find a dry spot. Up there by the first big bend in the road. It’s so overgrown with weeds now, you prob’ly never noticed it.
“Well, sir, the next time a citizen passed on, and they got set to plant him, there was such lightning that it struck some dead cactuses and started a big brush fire. It burned down four – no, five – buildings, and the buryin’ party had to scatter to keep from gettin’ burned up itself. At that point, some o’ the more church-minded citizens decided maybe God was tryin’ to tell ’em somethin’, so they put the second corpse right alongside the first one and built a church on the cemetery site. That went O.K., so they figured they’d got the message right.”
“Maybe the right message from the wrong god,” Maria said hoarsely without looking up.
“How’s that?” asked the guest, but she only smiled at him and let her husband answer.
“The Navajo won’t have a thing to do with places where people have died. They won’t go near one. They believe the dead can bring sickness and all sorts o’ bad luck to the living. They think the best thing to do with a house somebody died in is to burn it or tear it up so much the weather’ll knock it down.”