Memorial Day memories

I’ve spent a little too much time in the Way-Back Machine this week, thinking about my Dad who died 25 years ago May 22; it was the Friday before Memorial Day. Quite a bummer, to say the least, and I try not to take myself back to those times for too long, just stopping by to look at who I was, who was my family, and how we survived our grief. Even before that, back in 1967, my Grandpa Eaton died just before the Memorial Day week-end, just as our family was moving to California; it was another horrible time, but a more ancient memory that doesn’t quite evoke the sadness of losing my dad.

Seventeen years ago, on this week-end, we attended the beautiful wedding of Michael and Jessica–such a happy memory!

Back in the 90s we had a pop-up camper and Every Memorial Day week-end we were out in the woods, first years down at Barkley Lake, then moving up to Harmonie State Park, taking along the kids friends and meeting up with Our friends in their campers.

Since the kids have grown up we’ve not had a tradition, though we hit up the cemeteries every few years. Last year we visited the graves of some ancestors who hadn’t been visited since my great-grandmother died — her grandparents and uncles– but I didn’t find her mother and father. Now I know where to look (2 different cemeteries, actually) and I want to make a trip over there, but not today. What we formerly called “Decoration Day” and was supposed to be for all the dead has morphed into a holiday to honor our veterans. Nothing wrong with that, but I think I’ll start a Day of the Dead tradition this year and seek out the ancestors’ graves in November. These pictures are from last year…

My Mom and Dad are in a mausoleum over by Helfrich Park Golf Course and I change their bouquet frequently, marking the seasons and holidays. They are due for their “Patriotic” bouquet, but I’m going to wait and take the Jr kids with me later this week.

Coincidently, I did some time travel to my high school daze this week, too. A gentleman DM’d me on FB to ask if I had gone to Harrison, something anyone could know, so I was skeptical. I checked out his profile and could find nothing that triggered a memory, though his profile pic is a young-him and he’s good-looking, so I should have noticed… but he seemed safe, so I answered. I’ve strained and still haven’t been able to remember him, but he’s really a nice guy and we chatted away. Seems he’s a UCC minister, retired, but we all know that pastors never really retire, so he’s still preaching. He posted this on his FB timeline, and I’d like to share it with you:

This is my Pastoral Benediction for Sunday morning, written by the 19th century Swiss moral philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel. I wish it for all of you:

Life is short so we do not have much time to

gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.

So be swift to love,

Make haste to be kind,

And go in peace to love and serve the Lord

posted by Robert Walker, my new imaginary friend…

I wish I’d said that…


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