When I was growing up my dad's parents always lived near us. Grandma and Grandpa were a constant in our lives. On holidays, we were usually either at their house or they were at ours. I took it for granted back then, but as the years passed and I got older, ( I think in my college years) I came to realize what treasures they were in my life and tried to remember stories as they told them and the people from the past that were named. As a child I think it's hard to imagine your grandparents as younger than they are- that they had lives before you were born.
As the end of May approaches each year, my mind goes back to the times that I would interrupt my play when I was staying at their house and help Grandma gather flowers from her yard on the farm to take to the graves of family on what was then called Decoration Day. The name was changed by Congress in 1967 to Memorial Day.
The day was set aside to honor our fallen veterans, but it was also a time to "decorate" the graves of loved ones and remember them. It was my introduction to many of my ancestors-- Brothers, aunts, uncles, sisters, parents and cousins of my dad and grandparents.
Grandma and I would walk around then yard with a galvanized bucket of water, and as we cut flowers for the bouquets, Grandma would place the stems down into the water.
I remember gathering Zinnias...
We would then gather all of the tin cans that she had been saving and place them on the picnic table under a tree and make our bouquets. Grandma would then place them in a box so they wouldn't tip over in the trunk.
Grandpa drove us to the cemetery and there we would walk to the area where most of their families were buried. I would read on the tombstones the names that matched my last name and some that didn't. Grandma's name had been Reed, so we looked for those name, too. Grandma and Grandpa would tell me who they were. We would set the tin cans down and make sure they were level so as not to tip over.
Over across a fence you could see where the groundskeeper threw away dead flowers and containers. I knew that Grandma's bouquets would end up there in a week or so. But for now they were pretty and bright and "decorated" the graves.
We had come and remembered these ones who had gone on before us. Since I hadn't known these relatives, it was not sad for me. But I remember my Grandma tearing up sometimes as she pointed out a grave of someone close to her. And Grandpa walked around and groomed some of the family graves by pulling some weeds around the stones.
What memories do you have of Memorial Day or doing things with your Grandparents? I'd love to hear them.:)