Monday is Memorial day. I have been very bad about staying away from the cemetery since Mom died. I know that is not where Mom and Dad are, so I didn’t want to go. I didn’t go at all last Memorial day. Phil convinced me I need to take flowers and go visit. When I got home from work today we headed down to Weeping Water. Phil will never turn down a road trip …. and enjoyed his normal “look at that” all the way down.
We first removed all the nasty flowers from Mom and Dad, Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Joe’s graves then put some new pretty flowers on. Phil as usual had lots of questions about the family and how things used to be. When we finished there we went to Mom’s mothers grave. I pulled the old flowers out and found the strangest thing. The flowers were wrapped around with a coat hanger kind of crumpled up in the vase to keep them from blowing away. I looked at that and realized Mom must have done that when we took her to the cemetery 3 years ago to put flowers out. She is the only one I know who would come up with something like that. I can’t believe I haven’t changed the flowers in all that time! They were pretty faded and ratty looking. Now that I have them in my car ……… I’m not sure I want to get rid of them. That was Mom’s last gift to her mother.
I was showing Phil how old the graves were in that part of the cemetery, when I noticed a man in a wheel chair come into the cemetery. He had no legs, but seemed to get getting around very well in the chair. Something inside of me wanted to go talk to him … but I couldn’t do that. I had no idea who he was. Just then his big yellow lab came running over to me giving me kisses. The man was close behind and stopped to talk to Phil. Phil said hello, the man introduced himself as Delmer Guehlstorff. I looked at him and told him my (maiden) name. His face kind of dropped and he held his arms and to me and asked for a hug. His son and I went to school together. We talked for a long time. He told me about his wife being in a nursing home and dying a few years ago. He is still able to drive and get around OK with the chair and his van. The dog (and a cat inside) are his companions. When we parted he gave me another very long and hard hug. I saw tears in his eyes. I wonder if he was just lonely or if I brought up old memories of when we (Steve and I) were younger and his wife was alive.
After that Phil and I drove through town. I wasn’t sure where he was trying to go, but it didn’t matter. I was happy to see my home town again. He drove past houses and I told him stories about things that happened years ago. As he got to the edge of town I saw someone I thought was my cousin sitting outside her house. I wasn’t sure because she lost her husband recently and I didn’t know if she would stay in that big old house by herself. Phil pulled into the driveway so I could make sure it was Doris …. She recognized me at about the same time. She said she knew that smile. We had a wonderful visit. She and Dale were so good to Mom. They were the best of friends. As we were leaving she asked me to wait she wanted to give me something. She had an aerial photograph of my great grandparents Barkhurst farm she wanted me to have. She told me that Aunt Shirley and very likely all of the kids were born in that house. I remember Mom went to visit that house shortly before she died. I am still amazed at the generosity of that gift.
My heart was and is full of the awe of the day. It was happy and sad at the same time. I wish that Betty and Marge could have been here with me. I miss them so much.
Tomorrow is probably a slow day at work. Many people will be off for the holiday weekend. I am already in the mindset for a long weekend. Phil and I will be finishing up planting the garden. We hope to get the chicken coop completed and ready for occupancy. Gosh, can I push my luck and hope that we get a pig pen done? I know I ask a lot!
Off to bed for me. 5 AM comes much to quickly.