Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and Memories

Gracious me, it's nearly ten o'clock in the morning and, except for a couple of great-grandsons, the whole household seems asleep.  I've been at the computer most all morning, enjoying the quiet.  Eight-year old Preston was busy drawing when I went downstairs to check, and I saw Jeremy, who is four, scooting around with hands full of TV remotes and cell phones.  I decided to leave them to their parents.  

Eileen and Ryan and their four children are down from St. Johns for the weekend.  Last night the house almost rocked with the noise of celebration, honoring Amy and Jet, both just graduated from high school.  Today, we're recuperating.

Marolyn called an hour or so ago, and with scratchy voice asked if any of the family were planning to come over her direction. She lives closest of any of us to the Memorial Cemetery where Charles' body is buried.  We talked about Staci and shared her blogs, one or the other reading aloud a favorite part.  We're very biased, of course, being her mother and grandmother, but there's no doubt that Staci does a great job, and the pictures are adorable.  She's at and when I get through here I'll see if I can figure how to get it linked to mine.  

I told Marolyn how I'm concentrating on my bio, and how I'd been told, "You're still healthy and alert, but you have no guarantee of how long you'll stay that way," which adds to my urgency for setting more immediate goals. My children can't write my book for me. That led to how and when Charles left.

"I'm sure, Mom, that when Dad got called he said, 'Wait a minute.  I told my wife I'd walk her through our income tax this morning.  Just give me another hour.'  But then, he'd have reconsidered and added, 'Okay, I'll go.  She's smart enough to figure it out,' and he went."

We laughed, and talked on, but the more I thought of it, the tighter my throat became, and soon I simply could not talk.  It surprised me.  I'd always known that anger shuts me up, but not this completely.  I can at least bawl.  This morning, in mere moments, I'd tightened until I almost believed there was no way I could get even a tiny squeak past my closed throat.  With supreme effort, I forced a few words like, "I'm ... not ... sad ... just ... emotional. ... I ... love ... you. ..." and I hung up.  Never before have I felt my throat so constricted, and I doubted I could even swallow.  But in that, I was wrong.  A cup of water, and I was back, more or less, to normal.

By this time, I heard more movement going on downstairs and went down to see what Kat and the Browers were planning for today.  We even talked about memorial day.  Ryan said in St. Johns the scouts always raised a new flag over the cemetery, to replace the wind-tattered, sun-bleached old one.  It was his troop's turn to officiate today, but he'd turned that over to his assistant scoutmaster.  Ryan has four generations of ancestors buried at St. Johns.  His parents moved back this month, so there are two more generations living there.    

I told my childhood memories of memorial day.  By late May in Archer, Idaho (near Rexburg) the chances were good of having gardens full of flowers.  Lilacs and peonies especially come to mind.  We'd pick wash-tubs full of blooms, gather rakes, hoes, and even shovels, and head for the cemetery.  

A barbed-wire fence surrounded the graveyard, with a cattle-guard at the entry instead of a gate.  On another side we kids loved to climb the four-or-five step stile over and back until our mothers called us away to our duty.

This was the day for annual grave cleaning.  That meant we came to hoe the weeds, rake off the graves, shovel soil back to smooth, rounded mounds to match the size of each grave, and then spread our flowers over the top.  With so many of the Wilcox family living nearby, our family graves got pretty well covered, and on good years we had flowers to pass on to others.

I could talk of all this easily, but when I even thought of suggesting we go to Charles' gravesite, I felt my throat tighten, and all I wanted to do was go back upstairs.  So here I am, still with no idea of what I'll do today.  Maybe, since it's not far away from noon, I can begin preparations for whatever comes by showering and getting dressed.


  1. I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day. The loved ones we've lost are all buried far away from us. So we joined my sister's family and took our kids hiking to see a stunning waterfall.

  2. This was a nice post, made me think about the loved ones lost in our family.


  3. Hi Anna-
    I'm the redhead in your ANWA group. You remind me of my grandma. I just HAD to follow your blog. (It's the first blog I've ever followed.) Hope you had a great day.
    carolyn m.

  4. And likewise Anna. If I hang around you, I know my life will be better. Love you and your insights and this really neat blog. Rene