Young girl cares for old souls (w/ video)

Johnathan Silver By Johnathan Silver

July 30, 2014 at 2:30 a.m.

MOULTON - "Grandma, I'm getting my helmet on," Grace Mezik says. "Let's go."

Every morning, the 8-year-old Moulton girl utters such words before taking her pink and lime green bicycle up to the edge of her grandparents' driveway.

"Stop, look and listen," her grandmother, Dianna Polasek, directs.

It's a little past 8 in the morning when a cool breeze precedes summer's heat, and Grace clearly is ready to go.

Listening to Grandma, she pauses for a few seconds but not without an air of restlessness. She hasn't yet crossed the street but is undeniably in motion, rocking back and forth a bit with her back curved as she leans forward and has both hands on her handlebars, awaiting that pivotal moment.

Then it comes.

No vehicles in sight, she dashes across the street to Moulton City Cemetery.

Grace commands her kickstand to keep her bike in place before descending upon the graves of people who lived two centuries ago in many cases. For three summers now, she's made it a daily habit of tending to the cemetery by removing weeds, rearranging flowers and fixtures, replacing flags and adorning babies' graves.

"I sure got good eyes on those graves," Grace said.

The youth goes to the cemetery every day during the summer to be a caretaker because some of the dead might not have living relatives to maintain their graves.

"The people look down from heaven and smile when they look at their graves," Grace said.

Her summer mornings have entailed walking with Polasek for exercise before it becomes too hot outside. One day, Grace saw something out of place at the cemetery, Polasek said, and she's been at it ever since.

"We're so very proud of her," Polasek said. "Sometimes, children want to do something for a few days and then get tired."

Grace is an eager girl, her grandmother said.

"I'm sure if she could ride the lawnmower," Polasek said, "she'd be up here mowing the lawn."

Grace's great-grandmother passed away recently, but she didn't struggle with understanding death, Polasek said.

"She was right there by her great-grandma and was talking to her," Polasek said.

So, neither the dead nor death frightens the 8-year-old.

"She knows they're in the cemetery," Polasek said. "She takes care of them."

When it's time to go, Grace offers the same parting words.

"Rest in peace, everyone," she says. "I'll see you tomorrow."



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