Sunday, May 29, 2011

Decoration Day

When I was a kid that is what Memorial Day was called
Decoration Day.
This is what Wikapedia said. "Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service.[1] First enacted by formerly enslaved African-Americans [2] to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

I didn't know that it was for the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. Then World War I so I learned something. I thought I would share with you a picture of my grandfather after he was back home from Europe from World War I

I never knew him as he died the year before I was born. I would have liked
him I think, he was known for his praying. He was a very strong man of God.

What I always think about on Memorial Day is that maybe for a month when I was
a kid, my Mom would collect tin cans. She would very carefully take off all of the paper from
the outsides and scrub them clean. She would stack them on the back porch on a table.
We lived in a very old farm house then and the back porch was screened. So they would
sit out there all shiny like small silver sentinels all lined up for a special job.

Then she would begin to cut flowers and she would wrap the stems in wet newspapers
and buckets of water. When we moved out here the people who had lived here had
planted lots and lots of old fashioned flowers. There was all kinds, of Delphiniums,
and Oleander and Trumpet Vine and Stalk and ever so many that I didn't know.
She would take tin foil and wrap each can ever so lovingly.

Then she would begin to make flower arrangements. Then when it seemed like
she had made hundreds she would put them in the trunk of our car. You know how
big the trunks of cars were in the sixty's it would be all filled up and she would have some cans at her feet and in her lap. She would yell when Dad would take a curve to fast on purpose. She would get all dressed up with white
gloves just like we were going to church and we would have to get dressed up too. It always seemed about a million degrees too.

We would drive to Green Lawn Cemetery. She would go find a man who worked there
and he would have this giant book and in it listed all of the names of the people
who lived there. We would walk to each grave and we had to be quiet and not run
around or make jokes. We were supposed to carry the cans of flowers and heaven
forbid if we dropped them. So we would go stand as she said words to each
grave just like they were there. Some people would have BBQs and things like
that. Not us, we spent the whole day being quiet and she would always be so sad.

I never understood her sadness until it came time for her to go live there too.
She lives under a Angel of Heaven tree with the Rock of Ages over close to her.
When I go visit I sing The Rock of Ages for days. She lives next to my grandparents.
Do you ever think about the dash? You know like in my Mother's case, 1938-1969,
The dash, do you ever think about how much life is poured into that dash. I was
born inside of that dash.

My family has served in the wars that have changed this country. Every one of them.
My husband's family has a land grant from General Washington for serving in the Revolutionary war.
My family was in the Trail of Tears when President Jackson wanted the land. He sent
them to Oklahoma.
I always think that is what I love about history, reading it in a book isn't what it is about.
History is what changes us and makes us and gives us roots.
Celebrating Memorial Day, helps us to remember those who have paid the price
so we can live the life we have.
Bless all of the people who have given of themselves to keep us free.

I hope your days is one full of blessings.



Miss Debbie said...

a very interesting and thoughtful post,kim. thanks for sharing about your family.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, the visions you gave me of your mother in her Sunday best with white gloves trying to stay clean while holding tin cans of cut flowers and keeping children quiet and respectful. what a wonderful woman to honor the fallen... and your tribute to the family history. wonderful.

Patrice said...

My mother loved to where gloves and white ones were often on her hands.She was really into hats too!
Have a good Memorial Day!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I grew up living right across the street from a cemetery. Each night when I pulled my shade down all you could see was the huge iron fence. We also grew up with the utmost respect for people visiting their loved ones. If we were playing we always got a little hushed if we saw someone planting flowers, kneeling down to pray or just contemplating. Memorial Day was always busy with visitors.

Meg said...

Gosh that made me cry. Next time you should warn me. =\ It is a very nice post though and I always love seeing pictures of your family.

Sue said...

Kim, What an awesome Mother you had, I know now why you are so full of compassion, you had such a wonderful teacher and example, I am truly touched by this post.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

Er, was your mum only 31 when she passed away? I loved the recollection of your Memorial Day.... how beautiful a thing to have done.
Blessings to all of you, and especially to the families of those who have recently fallen in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Our prayers are with you all :) said...

Such a beautiful memory Kim, and what a tribute to your own mom, who gave from her heart, with love and great thoughtfulness. What a beautiful thing to teach her children as well. A real lesson for each of us. This just blessed me this morning.


Jacque. said...

ohmygosh, you have such a capacity for sharing...and for making me cry.

The 'dash'...very thought-provoking.

Debbie said...

Oh Kim what a precious memory of your mother. I LOVE it...and what she gave you of herself to carry with you makes it totally priceless as well. She was soo young, and yet look at what she accomplished in such a short time here on this earth? Memories such as these, and no doubt many more. Hope you have a wonderful Memorial day. HUGS

Julia said...

Kim, thanks for the history lesson. Your roots started there and that's where your love of God started to develop and though you may have sway a wee bi,t your roots have really grown deeper and deeper through the years. JB

Debbie said...

beautiful memories kim, perfect for today!!

i also love the vintage photo.....

Diana Ferguson said...

What great memories!!!

Dog Trot Farm said...

My dear Kim such a heartfelt post. Your mother sounds like a very prim and proper lady and I am sorry to learn that she has passed on. How wonderful for you that you keep such lovely memories and have shared them with us, a perfect post for today, thank you. Your friend from Maine, Julie.

Simple Home said...

Thank you for sharing this story Kim. You lost your mom so young, I can't imagine. What a legacy she left you though. We went to a Veteran's Memorial Service today. I want my children to understand the price paid for their freedom.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Good post but do remember, Wikipedia is written by folks who submit articles. Not necessarily folks who have their facts straight...I am not suggesting anything about your references aren't correct, merely pointing out Wikipedia isn't, necessarily, written by historians, experts, etc. said...

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one of your best post and you do great post...I am so moved. What a heritage from your mom, what a wonderful way to bring this holiday to life.
I am going to have my son read this, thanks so much for sharing.