Let me introduce myself. My name is Beau Ness. I was born in the year 1550 and died in 1640. For the last 550 years or so, I have lived on after my death as a skeleton.
It’s ironic; when my parent named me, their little tiny baby boy, so long ago, in no way could they ever have imagined how appropriate the name they chose, Beau Ness, would be for their son who was to live on after death as a skeleton. Beau Ness… BOnes.
I often wonder how I am able to walk, talk, eat, sleep, and the like being a skeleton. I have no muscles or organs… no brain for thinking or talking, yet I can. As proof of what I just told you is true, I have provided my driver’s license photo, taken last year.
My death as a human those many years ago wasn’t due to old age, which in the 1500’s, living to 90, was something close to a miracle, but rather the result of an accident. My driver, Bernard, picked me up after the opera ended at about 11 pm. The night was overcast with swollen clouds which promised rain. Bernard helped me into my carriage, got up on the driver’s bench, and off we went to my house which was more a mansion than a house. I was quite affluent.
The road to my home was long, winding, and uphill. As we were driving along, after about 5 minutes or so, it started to rain fiercely with sheets of rain pelting the carriage and my poor driver seated up outside on the bench. Then thunder cracked loudly and bolts of lightning lit up the night sky, terrorizing the horses. As most people know, horses are terrified of thunder and lightning. They want to break free of their reins and run as fast and far as they can.
Bernard, my driver, had been with me for 30 years and was strong and experienced… but he had all he could handle with the blinding rain, the hysterical horses, and the wobbly carriage which he struggled to keep level on the eroding uphill road. Unfortunately, as hard as he tried, nature proved too great for both him and me. The horses survived, but, sadly, my driver perished immediately after the carriage tipped to the right and rolled down an embankment. His neck had snapped.
I, believe it or not, even at the advanced age of 90, did not die at the scene. Apparently, the door to the carriage flung open as it was flipping over and over down the embankment and I was thrown quite a distance from it and landed on my back in tall grass and mud. I really don’t know how long I laid there because I was in and out of consciousness. Time eluded me.
When I was conscious, I knew my arms and legs were badly damaged and would never be the same. I would never have use of them again. Fortunately, and I suppose, unfortunately, I felt no pain… just wet and disoriented.
My longtime loyal servants found me. When I was late in arriving home and with the weather as bad as it was, they set out to find Bernard and me. I have no idea how they got me home, cleaned and dried me, and got me into my own cozy, soft and warm bed. They also dispatched my personal physician.
As I lay in my bed, I knew as I looked around that this would be the last time I would see this room and be in this bed. I knew the Angel of Death was coming for me. I remember thinking and laughing to myself that the storm must have delayed his coming.
My eyes wandered around the room, my room, and landed on each item. I was overcome with happy memories, as well as sad ones. But, in spite of the sad ones, I was filled with joy and happiness. My life had been long and filled with adventures and discoveries of all sorts. I uncovered and discovered civilizations, artifacts, writings, and the like from long gone. And, I had met so many wonderful people in my lifetime. Each person and experience enriched me. I was a lucky man.
Since I had no relatives, at age 90, who would, the bulk of my vast estate, holdings, and properties were going to be divided among my beloved and devoted servants who cared for me for so many years. My mansion was going to be converted into an orphanage for poor, parentless or abandoned children. I left specific instruction in my will as to how the house would be redesigned and how the children would be cared for. No one was to be turned away or turned out and they were to receive, not only an education, but love, plenty of good healthy food, attention, and encouragement. This was not going to be a place of sadness and cruelty, which was very common in that century, but rather a “home” for them in which they could flourish and feel loved.
My long time friend and attorney, Jacob Thortonwhilder, was the overseer of the renovation and then would run the orphanage making certain it was run and the children cared for as per the specifications in my will. Jacob would be shocked to see how well taken care of financially he would be for these tasks.
Jacob and I had spent many hours discussing the orphanage and how the children should be cared for, so I had no fears that my wishes and dreams for those children, who would soon live here, would not be realized and upheld. I knew Jacob would make certain my wishes were fulfilled.
Well, it seemed in the midst of my own personal life review, the Angel of Death arrived at to my door before the local physician. I passed from this life on June 2, 1640.
Later, when I was living as I am now as a skeleton, I learned that my house had been struck by lightning that very same night and caught fire. My bedroom went up in a huge blaze and my human body burned to the bone. Fortunately, and rather oddly, as nature tends to be, the rain from the storm, which caused the fire, put the blaze out and 3/4ths of my house was saved.
But, my corpse was now a skeleton. No worms for me. I was not to be anyone’s dinner.
I shall stop here; this is a good breaking point. I am certain your eyes are weary from reading and you must have some adventure to gear up for. I know I do and I must get started or I shall be late. I am rather excited about this adventure; it promises many surprises and I cannot wait to get started.
Next time when we chat, I will continue my tale. It was my pleasure to meet you and look forward to our next meeting.