Saturday, May 26, 2007
Memorial Day Weekend
My family never grew up in the traditional Midwest tradition of cooking out and picnics. Being Southerners, we still called it "Decoration Day", and went to the graveyard to put flowers on all our kin's graves. My father, halfway up the steep hill in the tiny graveyard. Grandmother and Grandpop, only two steps to the right. Uncle Roy, and now Aunt Hazel, just to the left. Uncle Frank and Aunt Arlene, who died before I was born, and whose Amana freezer is still quietly puttering away in our basement, one year older than I am. And all the older relatives I never met : Uncle John, Aunt Teeny (Clementina), great-grandfathers, great-great grandfathers, and even more. It was always very peaceful and a history lesson...Mom gently pulling any stray weeds away from the heavy headstones, patting them gently, and telling stories about their lives. Now Mina's there, too. Five years, now...or is it six? I know Mom wants to be down there right now, but it's three and a half hours down there, I'm quarantined to get rid of this cold before surgery on Tuesday, and I don't think she could get up the hill now, and couldn't see the graves if she did get up there. Of course, the last grave we always visited was the Baby's. I don't remember his name...John, maybe. He was stillborn, a first-born son of my cousins', who had two daughters after that, but no other boys. His grave is at the bottom of the hill, almost to the road. I hope MariB and Floyd go down there this weekend, and I'm sure they probably will, with their daughters and their grandkids. I wish I lived closer. Maybe this summer, after everything settles down. Meanwhile...it's Decoration Day, people. Remember your own history. Where are your people buried?