Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day and memories

I was fortunate enough to grow up with all my grandparents being a big part of my life.

I know many people who didn't know any of their grandparents, much less all of them.

I had opportunities to spend time with all of them: fishing with grandfathers, shopping and cooking with grandmothers.

They were around on all the holidays and birthdays.

Like I said, I was fortunate.

My maternal grandmother is still alive and living nearby with my aunt.

I see her at least a couple times a month.

But the others have all passed.

All were veterans and all are buried in the same cemetery.

The first of my grandparents to die was one of my grandfathers.

It hit me really hard. I was in my early teens and it was the first time I lost someone so close.

My other grandfather died in 1996 and my grandmother 10 years later and was buried in the same plot with him.

And while the cemetery is not that far from home, I had never been there.

When my grandfathers died, I went to the services, but did not attend the burials.

When my grandmother died, my uncle (we shall call him waste of skin) never told us when the burial was.

Now I am not sure why, but for some reason as I was thinking about the Memorial Day weekend, I thought I should go out there to the cemetery.

I was not sure what to do or what to expect.

But I wanted to go.

I talked to my sister about it and she said she wanted to go, too.

So Monday morning we made the drive, about 45 minutes, with her toddler son in tow.

We stopped and got flowers.

I had looked up the grave numbers before we left, so all we needed to do was get a map and find them.

The place was huge.

One grave is in section 12, one in section 56. It is huge.

And there were Harleys everywhere.

I never realized bikers were so into the whole Memorial Day thing.

But I guess it makes sense. Why wouldn't they be?

So we found the graves.

First the plot with my grandfather and grandmother.

We cleared the stray pieces of grass from the marker.

The cones that are provided to hold flowers were gone. So we left them on the grass.

We did not really know what to do.

We talked a bit about our grandparents. We told the boy a bit about his great grandparents.

A grandmother who took us shopping every year at Pennys and Pic n Save to buy presents for our parents with money she gave us.

A pretty and good grandfather who was a jokester.

Then we headed to the other side of the grounds to find the other marker.

Once there, we did the same thing.

The boy was happy to sit on the marker while we told him about a grandfather who took us fishing.

Then we left.

It was not a sad day. It was just a day to remember.

And I think it is something I want to do more often. But maybe not on Memorial Day.

The Harleys were a little loud.

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