We attended church together again, filling the pew and the hearts of my close relative and me. The pushing and shoving at the end became unbearable. A sister has to have her way and sometimes more room, demanding the second pew and one was had. Our grandkids are the best at everything!
The menu was easy to grab and go and the trips to the cemeteries began with three vehicles in a row. The newest grandson required lots of room and the other two were jam-packed with family and a few friends from college. My pappy and sainted mother's graves would be "flowered" by my sister, as it is so time-consuming to make that trip.
We visited three cemeteries in an afternoon sweep, with all the grands keeping in mind where and how each family member in their grandmother's lineage is to be remembered. I was never exposed to such as a child, so I have a hard time trying to visualize the thoughts of the young ones as we are given history lessons about each one. I hope they pay attention and aren't bored with so many graves!
Then home to a bonfire and lots of fun with all the kids! The baby went home, and so did the female offspring so she could supervise the baby duties! It was a long day with memories fresh in the minds of all of us and maybe some grief mixed in. Yes, we never get so old that we forget the loss and the hurt of someone in the family. If the dead one was a horse thief or a bank robber, we try to remember the things said person did as a child. Every family has at least one!
I finally got the needed shower and hit the sheets, ready for sleep, but the day played back in living color. The church service and then the trips to visit the dead and the enjoyment of the bonfire were indeed vivid in my mind, along with all the plastic flowers -- the flowers costing several hundred dollars that the dead never see!
The flowers that adorn graves in our area are so striking and colorful that the sight could be mistaken for a carnival or a fair! The graves of all the dead were decorated with flowers in flourishing sizes and colors. What in the world does that mean? We are honoring our loved family and sometimes disgusting kin with money spent on fake flowers instead of feeding hungry folks. The worse part of the exercise is the fact that the dead don't care! That is a beef producer's thought and I really mean it, but I carry on as I am expected!
Today is the Memorial Day and the time to go home. The highways will rack up more deaths and injuries, the waters will add some drownings, and the airlines will be delayed and canceled all over America. We put a lot of time and money into these three days, but I still have to check cattle and count the livestock in each pasture! Yes, God is good to allow me the best of all the places to live and work. I will return home at noon and at dark without traffic!
Our family will quiet down, and college folks will close the doors to rooms they once lived in. The leaving home starts again, and parents are hit with the loss of the child and the wonderful silence that follows! Our personal grocery ticket will suddenly reduce to a livable size, and we will wish they were here. That is the way of life; we celebrate the dead and enjoy the living!
My close relative is missing her family from the past and her family now as she thinks about the last days of fun and the jarring memory of precious departed kin. We also have some unfound bodies over the sea to remember and to thank for our freedom, and she has two of them. This evening was a recalled time of the past, and now we move on!
The lessons learned were precious, and we want all our young ones to remember ours as we do, but they won't because the connection is broken by death. So be it!
I caught seven nice blue catfish the week before the company came, and we ate like country folks! We ate fish and fried spuds until our eyes bulged out, and therefore I am going back to the lake again this week -- have to go late, but there is lots of room then. You fellers can bum a ride, and we can wet our hooks together; call and let me know. I can out-fish any of you!
Pray for our government and Remember the Alamo!
Bill is the pen name of the Gravette-area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.