Saturday, May 26, 2007

Family Memories

Memorial Day. I know it is Monday. I know it used to be called Decoration Day. I know it was started to remember the war heroes. When I was young my parents used to load my sister and I up in the car with cans of flowers, buckets, and shovels and we would take off for the cemeteries around the neighboring counties. We thought it great fun. Our parents would busily put the cans of flowers beside the graves, digging down to set the cans into the dirt. We would play around the tombstones and rest beneath the trees. I think we knew this was a serious occasion, but it was still a time of adventure for us.
Now it is my turn to decorate the graves. The graves of those who took us around to those cemeteries so long ago. Today as my husband and I drove to my grandparents' graves we discussed the appearance of the big heavy cement urns on each side of the stone. Each year we vow we will repair the cracks and patch the spots that have fallen off. Each year we never do. This year as we pulled up close to the site we knew it was too late. One of the pots was hopelessly cracked and falling apart. I was sick.
My gallant husband saved the day however. He said, "Let's go find some to replace these." I thought the task too overwhelming. I would have spent days hunting just the right size and type. But, no, we were set on finding them and finding them TODAY!
Home Depot was our salvation. We found two pots that were not cement, but looked it. They were the same size and rather classy looking if grave pots can be classy. We lugged them to the cemetery. Dug out the old ones. Carried them to the car and replaced them with the new. I carefully and lovingly placed all the artificial flowers and greenery into those two pots.
As I drove away, I felt that my parents would have been proud and happy to see that I really am carrying on the tradition. I am sure years ago they wondered if anyone would. Since my sister lives many, many miles away, it is my responsibility to do this act of love and honor.
As you get ready to celebrate the three-day holiday, be sure to spend some time thinking of the traditions you shared with your family and those who have gone ahead. May you have a blessed Memorial Day!


Jen Barney said...

Growing up in a very traditional POLISH family, traditions have been important. Thank you for remembering those traditions. I value mine dearly.

Sarah Amick said...

Memorial Day is a very hard day for me emotionally. I struggle with the fact that there are men and women around the world that are fighting to keep my freedom. Being the daughter, niece, and granddaughter to many who have served I have realized the sacrifices that are being made. It is important that we never forget. Thank you Kathy.

Jen Barney said...

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Al Manning said...

Memorial Day is a time where I take the time to Thank God for the men and women who have so freely given their lives for the many freedoms we have today. My dad and grandpa both were career army and are buried in Arlington National Cemetary. I grew up in Virginia and Va history is so important to me. I am thankful for your memories of Memorial Day because they caused me to reflect on my father and grandpa and the amazing sacrifices they made for mankind. Your piece also caused me to remember the many people who are fighting for our freedoms today. Thanks Kathy for sharing a part of your life with us.