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…


Memorial Day, 2017

Busy week, this last one, full of people I love.  Between babysitting, elder-sitting, and good, old friends, I haven’t had time to do much more than maintenance.  I’m way behind on my reading challenge because I didn’t have the challenge book with me at Cades Cove and started reading another, so now I’m finishing up two.

Many confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day.  The former is for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives for their country in military service, the latter for all those who served.  No one in my mom or dad’s family has died in combat, but for the millions of lives cut short by war, it is good to take time to pause and reflect with prayers or meditations of remembrance and thanksgiving for all we, the living, have in this wonderful country.

I remember when we called this Decoration Day and we would go with my great-grandmother in Southern Illinois to walk around dozens (it seemed) of cemeteries littered with Maynes and Kinkades.  Casey and I made our way through most of the old cemeteries at one time or another in the last 20 years, but the weather isn’t always co-operative.   This year would have given us a beautiful day to re-enact the trip, but we chose to stay put, doing mostly nothing.

Casey’s working on putting up our little pool and the week ahead looks sunny.  We are leaving next week, flying to NYC for Eliza’s kindergarten graduation/party and both girls will be dancing Irish at their school’s

Ceili  –  ˈkālē/

a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.

Both PawPaw and I are going, and this will be the first time he has seen the girls dance in person, so we are All excited.

Till then, we’ll be laying around the shack, watching the garden grow.  Well, I will. I can’t keep track of Casey, but he’ll be doing something helpful, I’m sure.