Memorial Day is drawing closer. A day the nation remembers our dead soldiers. The parades are smaller, the ceremonies shorter and the remaining veterans fewer than when I was a child. Perhaps people are more focused on the surviving soldiers instead. I hope so.
I guess I’m old-fashioned. My family always decorated the grave-sites of deceased relatives. It was a way to show respect and a chance to share memories. To this day I can find my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a few cousins in the enormous New York cemetery we visited. Now I put flowers on my parent’s grave in Connecticut.
Perennials since I spend more than half the year in Florida. Lilies, plantains and bulbs like daffodils or tulips do well and assure me they are not being neglected. I need to go back and replant my sister’s flowers since they didn’t grow well this year. Sort of sad, but my sister and I shared a love of gardening.
The new flags decorated the deceased soldiers are a bright note against the green grass.
Cemeteries can evoke fear, grief, loneliness or interest. I added the last because like many who explore old graveyards, I think they are fascinating. The practice of gravestone rubbing has fallen off and that’s a good thing. It involved spreading tissue over the carved surface and rubbing it with charcoal. You could read weather-worn carving using this method, but it proved to be destructive.
Another reason to visit cemeteries is the http://www.findagrave.com site on the internet. You can go there and ask about an ancestor if you’re interested. If you know the cemetery, it’s likely a local person will take a picture and post it for you. Or you can find one for someone else. In a society where people move far from their birth home this can be a way to make contact.
Thanks for your interest in what I’ve been doing. Visit www.barbaraedwards.net for excerpts, buy links and free reads
I recently posted poetry on another blog. It’s not something i do regularly- write poetry, I mean. But I recommend writing poetry to stretch your skills. Poetry is a different way of observing. You must make your view compact yet compelling. Try it. You may find an unexplored talent.
The damned cat died.
Old age, I suppose,
That mangy hair-ball.
Remember her silly kitten act?
Chasing dust balls from under the bed
To scatter tatters across the rug
And sneeze pieces clinging to her whiskers.
How many times did she drop an offering
At my feet or on the back step?
Mighty hunter of baby birds and mice
And once a two foot long snake.
Grooming in a ray of sunlight,
She’d stare contemptuously at my entrance
When I opened the door
Her tongue a tiny pink raspberry.
A purring lump against the small of my back
On cold, lonely nights.
Her raspy tongue would lick my chin
And tickle before I pushed her away.
So the damned cat died.
And I’m putting her ragged toys,
Bowl and collar into a brown bag.
To dispose of. Maybe.
I’ll miss the damned cat.
Much more than I ever miss you.
So tomorrow I’ll get another kitten,
Although I can’t think why.
Tonight there is an empty doorstep.
And a cold hollow at the small of my back.
And I’ll cry again, for both of you.
But mostly because the damned cat died.
I couldn’t find a picture of Winnie. She was a grey domestic.
Pulling up my socks and getting back to my blog today. I didn’t plan to take a hiatus. I had a weird reaction to a prescription I’ve been on for years. I can’t say for sure what happened. Lucky for me I was having my regular check-up and blood-work.
But like that famous movie line, I’m back!
I’m a snowbird, flitting between the Florida Panhandle and Connecticut. This winter the weather wasn’t warm. In typical fashion, the temperature swung to the extreme and we had a lot of cold days on the 50s and 60s. I know. I know. Don’t yell at me about the depth of the snow in your yard and the wind chill. That’s why we go to Florida.
The Panhandle isn’t like Miami or the Keys. It has a homely feel with tiny towns spread out over a wide area. We’re lucky enough to be on the Gulf with the blue water and white sand beaches. Although the winter chill can bite even here, I like it more than the hotter south.
The place we stay is quiet. The others camping there offer a variety of interesting people to talk to if we’re looking for conversation or the chance to ignore everyone and write. Great option.
We make a conscious decision every winter and figure out the cost of heating fuel to stay home against the cost of fuel to haul the camper south. With the price of diesel pushing upward, we wonder if we can afford the trip next year.
Anyway, I’m glad to be home at my desk and feeling better.