One of my clearest childhood memories... and maybe it isn't actually clear, so much as repeated, step-by-step, year after year, is visiting the cemetery with my mom and grandparents on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.
We drove in two cars because of the buckets.
The cemetery is barely out of town on the easy slope of a hill overlooking wheat fields and with the mountains in the distance. It is a pretty place to spend eternity... you know... other than the underground part. But underground was really the only option ever considered until about the 80s, so as far as burial spots go, this is a nice one. It is certainly a nice place for the loved ones to come spend some time with those who've passed.
But it's a NASTY turn in. It is a left turn off the highway and the view ahead TURNS, so it is WAY too short a view for the speed. I think since then, the slowdown coming into town starts a lot earlier, but I do remember some near misses turning into the cemetery It was a little too heart-pumping for our destination, but it wasn't like that was our fault.
The roads in the cemetery were one lane, but of course that weekend, we were rarely the only ones present. Still, there were also a lot of graves unattended.
|See... humanoid form, or flat cement rectangle?|
I loved wandering the headstones—looking for those born a REALLY long time ago (I adore old stuff and the stuff in Idaho is only so old)... or those who lived really short lives. Those always made me sad—the tombstones of the children. Still, they were also the treasures—the saddest stories there (and possibly the reward for those who did math easily). Maybe my inner storyteller was already at it.
In 1977 we added my dad to the stops for the first time. That was hard. It wasn't like I ever forgot he was gone, but it was the first time we were visiting 'my grave'--one for somebody I'd really known and loved. I mean one of my great grandmother's was there and I knew her, but she died when I was about 5 and lived in a nursing home my whole living memory, so that isn't the same.
|This one! But we came at it from the other end. 50 years later.|
They were wonderful weekends, but I think all the more amazing for the bittersweet start.
I wish you all a wonderful long weekend with just the right amount of remembering.