When I was growing up, I never heard it called Memorial Day. It was Decoration Day when we went to the cemetery and placed flowers on the graves of deceased relatives. Mom always had a big bucket of her gorgeous peonies, which in my memory, were always in bloom the end of May. She would take along a knife and trim around the gravestones and then wash them off. Then she divided up the flowers for her Kubik grandparents, and later for her parents.
We have been on the road most years and nowhere near the family plots. I've always felt a little bit guilty about not being home to tend the graves...
But this year we are here. Friday when we were in town I bought five bundles of miniature carnations. We put flowers on Forry's parents' graves at the Menno Cemetery when we were there Saturday - and I felt bad that I hadn't brought water and a brush to clean the guano off of their headstone.
Today we made an excursion to the old Lutheran Cemetery where Forry's grandparents are buried. The old church is gone and the cemetery is now on Hutterite land. You can't drive up to it. We had to walk through CRP ground to get to the little cemetery. Fortunately, it had been mowed and it wasn't too rough. But I was glad I had told Forry to use his cane. Forry's Hardt grandmother died the year he was born, so he never knew her. He was seven when his grandfather died, so he has lots of memories of him - most notably of getting in trouble for snitching carrots from Grandpa's truck garden.
Our next stop was at the Ritzville City Cemetery. This is where most of my childhood memories occurred. Many of my maternal Telecky and Kubik family are buried there. When doing genealogy research, I discovered that my father's Blackwood maternal grandparents are also buried there. I have no memory of Mom putting flowers on their graves. I wonder if she even knew they were there?
Then we went to the Ritzville Lutheran Cemetery where Forry's mother's parents are buried. There is a very distinctive round headstone next to where the Steffens are buried. Forry was pretty smug because he didn't have to hunt for their resting place like I had to do with my grandparents.
Our last stop was at the Cow Creek Restaurant where we met up with our friends Dennis and Colleen. Colleen is a couple of weeks post total knee replacement and is doing really well. It was a perfect way to end the day, having dinner with good friends.