With the cancellation of Harry's Law and the subsequent absence of David E. Kelley's forcibly quirky legal shows on the airwaves, there might not be anybody out there to dramatize the awesome stubbornness of Alabaman James Davis in regards to the disposition of his dead wife, Patsy Ruth Davis. Via the Associated Press:
James Davis is fighting to keep the remains of his late wife right where he dug her grave: In the front yard of his home, just a few feet from the porch.
Davis said he was only abiding by Patsy Ruth Davis' wishes when he buried her outside their log home in 2009, yet the city sued to move the body elsewhere. A county judge ordered Davis to disinter his wife, but the ruling is on hold as the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals considers his challenge.
Davis, 73, said he never expected such a fight.
"Good Lord, they've raised pigs in their yard, there's horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they've got other gravesites here all over the place," said Davis. "And there shouldn't have been a problem."
Davis lives in the small Alabama town of Stevenson near the northeast border of the state. Here's the city attorney's response:
"We're not in the 1800s any longer," said city attorney Parker Edmiston. "We're not talking about a homestead, we're not talking about someone who is out in the country on 40 acres of land. Mr. Davis lives in downtown Stevenson."
Bustling downtown Stevenson! Here's a picture of downtown Stevenson for you:
The city has a population of 2,000 people. Be honest: When you look at picture of that, you practically expect people to bury their dead in their yards. I am amused that Edmiston thinks they are not "out in the country." That a community is small enough for people to be buried in their own yards could be a selling point with the right marketing.
Libertarianism is invoked in the defense of Davis' desire for him and his dead wife to be left the hell alone:
A strong libertarian streak runs through northeast Alabama, which has relatively few zoning laws to govern what people do with their property. Even a neighbor who got into a fight with Davis over the gravesite—Davis said he punched the man—isn't comfortable with limiting what a homeowner can do with his property.
"I don't think it's right, but it's not my place to tell him he can't do it," said George W. Westmoreland, 79, who served three tours of duty in Vietnam. "I laid my life on the line so he would have the right to do this. This is what freedom is about."
Davis is protesting the city's efforts by running for City Council. He also plans to be buried in the yard next to Patsy after he dies.