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Cemeteries have always held a fascination for me.  It's not because I'm overly spiritual, or macabre in any way, as I've always been a history buff, and cemeteries are a part of history, as each headstone represents what once was a real person, and each person had a life, and a story to tell.  I wonder, who was that person?  What did they do with their life?  Not to mention occasionally I get a twinge of sadness, as I realize that in a few years, I'll be in the ground myself.  It also gives me a chance to reflect on my life, what I'm attempting to accomplish, and to give me a chance to burnish my image, so hopefully, people will remember something positive about me.

Photo:  View of Meling Ranch family cemetery, with the rugged foothills of the Sierra Pedro San Martir in the background.

Andrea Meling suggested that I visit the cemetery; she mentioned that I might find it interesting.  The family cemetery is about a quarter mile south of the ranch, on a hill overlooking the ranch, the airstrip and the Arroyo San Jos.  To reach the cemetery, follow the dirt road south from the entrance gate.  You can't miss it.

The family cemetery contains a couple dozen graves, and its surrounded by a barb wire fence to keep the horses out.  I find it quite interesting is that most of the surnames inscribed on the head stones are English, with surnames of Meling, Johnson, Bennett, Smith, Barre and Carr being the most common.  Many of the first names are Spanish, and the inscriptions on the tombstones are in English and Spanish.  It's quite an interesting blend of cultures.  Like the United States, Mexico is a melting pot of people and cultures.  The cemetery appears to contain five or six generations...

Photo:  Five or six generations of family members are buried in the cemetery.

Perhaps the most interesting grave is that of Aida Meling, the former matriarch of Meling Ranch, who was born and raised on the ranch, and ran it for over 40 years.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Aida Meling, but Andrea told me that she was a feisty, straight-forward sort of person, and she was buried with a pack of cigarettes in her casket.  The inscription on her grave reads in part "walk softly, a grand lady lies here.  Gone but never forgotten..." which applies for Aida, according to what Andrea has told me, and what information I've been able to obtain.

Photo:  The grave of Aida Meling Johnson, a grand lady...

Photo:  Meling Ranch, as viewed from the cemetery, with the grave of Mary E. Bennett in the foreground.

It's a pleasant, quarter mile hike to the cemetery, and the view of the valley is great.  The rugged San Pedro Martir mountain range form a breath taking backdrop to this remote corner of Baja California.  This history is fascinating as well, as the inscriptions on the grave stones give you insight into the lives of Baja California pioneers. All together, a visit to the Meling family cemetery is an interesting experience.


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