“Grandma, hand me another stem of honeysuckle,” my grandfather said as he placed the trumpet-shaped flowers into a fruit jar. “We’ll stop on our way to the cemetery and cut red clover from along the roadside to add to this.”
My grandparents were preparing to decorate the graves of their parents and the two young sons they had lost to childhood diabetes. Their hearts carried sorrow each day, and Memorial Day was especially difficult. Perhaps my mother thought my visit with her parents might provide them some cheer on that long-ago day.
Years have passed, and now I am the one who decorates those graves on Memorial Day. I also decorate the graves of my own young son, my sisters, brothers, parents, and grandparents. I, too, feel sorrow as I do so. Yet, each year as I place honeysuckle on Grandpa’s grave, I smile and remember the love he had for his family.
Thank you, Grandpa, for that love—and for the stop at the drug store for an ice cream cone on the way home!
Thank you, too, to all the men and women who have sacrificed for our country.
I recently rented a car to drive to visit out-of-state family. John was concerned my nine-year-old van with 192,755 miles on the odometer might develop some type of mechanical issue on a busy Interstate highway.
I knew vehicles had changed a lot since 2008, and as a person whose main source of technology information comes from watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory, I was worried I might not be compatible with a newer model car.
I was most pleased I actually started the car and appreciated the fact the car welcomed me on its little dashboard screen. It was good I had paid attention to the twenty-minute tutorial the nice guy at the car rental place presented, too. I also appreciated the fact he gave me his personal cell phone number and encouraged me to call at any time.
Driving over a thousand miles allowed me time to get acquainted with the car. Because I knew my route, I disregarded the GPS system. By the time I returned home, though, I knew how to check each tire’s pressure while traveling down the highway. I really appreciated the car’s beeping assistance while passing, too.
Oh yes, it might be time for a new car.
“Aunt Cora’s boy got that job he wanted,” my grandmother said.
“How did Judy do on her test?” my aunt asked.
“We just finished planting the potatoes before the rain came,” my mother said.
My mother, grandmothers, aunt, and the older mother figures in my life are gone, and to my surprise, I am the mother, grandmother, aunt, and older mother figure.
Wasn’t it just a few short years ago, that I anxiously awaited the birth of my first child? Sometimes now the young clerks at the first window– and the second window– of fast-food restaurants call me “sweetheart” as I get my senior coffee. I suspect it won’t be long before family members use their louder, slower, talk to older people voices when speaking to me.
I often long to be a young girl again, sitting at grandma’s kitchen table listening to the women folks’ conversations as they finish preparing Sunday dinner. I wish I had paid more attention to their stories.
Then I remember I am now a mother, grandmother, and aunt. Yes, I am blessed.
Forty-six and a half years ago, John and I married. Along with the top layer of the cake, I saved a dozen of the home-made cream wedding mints. The plan was for us to eat them along with the cake on our first anniversary.
We ate the cake, but the mints had fallen behind some packages of meat and we did not find them. After forgetting about them for several years, I thought it might be fun to eat them on our fiftieth wedding anniversary. For years I cautioned baby-sitters and my children NOT to eat the mints.
Last week I smelled an unpleasant odor coming from the freezer. The freezer, purchased sometime during the 1980’s, had died. Hurriedly I searched for the plastic container containing the mints. Unfortunately, the lid of the container holding the mints had cracked during the last forty-six and half years. Unfortunately, too, the mints were on a shelf under a package of meat. The beautiful, albeit faded and hardened, wedding mints were now only pastel swirls in an ugly brown liquid.
Luckily, I still have the orange plastic salad bowl received as a wedding present to remind me of the day. Oh, and I still have John, too.