When I was growing up, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day. We always went to the Davis Cemetery and "decorated" the graves. There was (and still is) a church service, big basket dinner afterwards, decorating graves and a time of visiting. It was a big event. Dwayne and I have tried to carry that tradition on through the years. We don't buy expensive flowers, sometimes only a dollar a piece, and decorate friends and family's graves. The kids have grown up doing this with us. Our neighbor, Virgil Jurgensmeyer, died when Chad was around four years old. Virgil always helped with molasses at Mom and Dad's. Chad idolized Virgil. He would follow Virgil everywhere. Virgil had a gruff voice and most kids were afraid of him. Not, Chaddy, him and Virgil "worked" at skimming molasses, feeding cane, etc. The year after he passed away and I was buying flowers to take to the cemetery, Chad said he needed to buy a flower for Virgil. Thus, his tradition of honoring friends started.
We lost a good friend, Bob Prigge, in 1979. We alway include a small flag with our flowers as he was in the military. We didn't get a picture of his grave. I may have to take one and add it later.
Our next friend to pass away was Marvin Southard in 1981. Dwayne and I always make an effort to clean around his grave. Last year the moss was very thick on the stone and a yucca plant was about to take over. I was so happy to see this year someone had cleaned the stone, removed the plant and planted a small plant in it's place. It looked so nice.
The weeds and small sprouts were crowding around Susan, Adrian and Kyle's stone. Dwayne and Todd trimmed them back and we did our weeding around the stone. I'm weird, but I always use my hand and clear the dried cut grass off, pull grass, etc. I don't take care of my flower beds at home, but I really clean off around our loved ones graves.
Our first great family loss was in 2003 when Grandma Dodie passed away. Grandpa Andy had noticed soon after that someone had been placing flowers on her grave and wanted to know if I had. I hadn't and come to find out, April had been going over and changing the flowers every once in awhile. She hadn't said anything about it. I (as her Dad and Grandpa) were very proud of her for doing that, especially as she was still a young girl and in high school.
When Grandpa Andy was alive, we would meet at the cemetery before Memorial Day and decorate the grave and then go out to eat at The Vichy Wye. April always went and most times the boys went, also.
This year, I was so proud that our adult kids went with us to all the gravesites to help clean and decorate. Afterward, we went to eat at Sput's. We had such a great visit with the kids. When they were younger, it was a treat to eat out without the kids. Now, it's a treat to eat out with the kids!! We've come full circle.
April was our photographer for the evening. (She did help with the cleaning and decorating)
Dodie and Andy's stone:
Our good friend, Marvin Southard:
Todd cutting back overgrown weeds:
Cleaning around the stone:
Chad, quietly remembering friends:
After we cleaned:
The back view:
We didn't get to the Davis Cemetery yet to decorate my brother, Mark, my Grandma and Grandpa Feeler, Donnie Allen and Amy Jones.
April has always decorated for Amy Jones. Amy passed away from a car accident when April was in elementary. Amy used to fix April's hair in a pony tail on the bus. After she passed away, April drew a picture of Amy in her photo album. She did a pretty good job on it.
I am so grateful for my family and my children. I am so proud of them for remembering their loved ones.
Matcha Panna Cotta by Erica
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