Monday, May 25, 2009

...Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day weekend my folks make a trek up to the cemetary to put flowers on my grandparents' graves. Some years several of us are home to join them; this year it was just me. But--many or few of us--there are traditions to be followed:

1. Stop at Grandma Vernona's (dad's mom) and Grandpa Mel's (dad's step-dad) gravesite at the bottom of the hill. 2. Place daisies in Grandpa's pot. (His mother's name was Daisy and he loved the flower.) 3. Lament the plastic flowers placed earlier in the day by dad's cousin. (Grandpa hated fake flowers.) 4. Place a flower on the memorial plaque for my cousin Storey. He'd be 33 now. Wonder again with sadness why he chose to end his life a decade ago. 5. Climb the hill to Grandma Irene's grave (mom's mom). Look at old gravestones along the way. Try to rid myself of the goosebumps that chill me on this warm day when I realize I'm looking at the grave of a child or worse, children who died within days of each other.
6. Clean off Grandma's gravestone and give her lots of flowers. She loved flowers.
7. Add some flowers to those already on Great-Grandma's and Great-Grandpa's grave (mom's grandparents). Do the math to see how old they were when they died. 8. Reminisce about loved ones now gone. Wonder at how quickly the years have gone by. 9. Sweep off Grandpa Fred's (dad's dad) gravestone. Grumble that, once again, whoever is in charge of putting flags on the graves of veterans has missed Pap again.
10. Make a mental note to inform the cemetary staff of the oversight again. (Mom and Dad will return later in the day with a flag for his grave.)11. Visit make-out hill to enjoy the view of the valley. (How do I know it's called make-out hill? That's what my dad called it in his younger days. I wouldn't have any personal experience with that!) Exclaim at the houses now being built on the ridge.
Every year after visiting the cemetary my folks go to lunch at the Methodist church. Since I wasn't in a rush to get home, I tagged along. I was (at 50) one of the youngest in the room! Mrs. Goodson, one of the nicest, kindest, most loving persons on this planet greeted us with hugs. (She's the one standing at the back.)
Dad enjoyed "shooting the breeze" with people he has known since he was a small boy. The man on the left had a story for me: "I tend to forget things, and once I even forgot my own name! A woman told me to write my name on a piece of paper when I finally did remember it. So, I did as she said. Now I can't remember which pocket I put it in!" He chortled with laughter, so tickled with his own joke. :-) The "young" man driving this machine caused some excitement. A vintage BMW motorcycle and sidecar from WWII, complete with three dogs wearing goggles!

Another Memorial Day come and gone. Another day of remembering loved ones and reminiscing. I'm glad I was part of the tradition.

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