Memorial Day used to be called Flag Day or Decoration Day. Can you blame me if when I was a child I thought the day was an event to honor flowers, especially irises, since we called irises "flags" back then and we used to cut armsful of them to take to the cemetery? My mother loved irises and grew dozens of varieties. Most of mine are descendants of some of my favorites from her garden. Along with all of the names given the day and the rituals and observances, it has an additional spot dear to most American hearts as the first "real" holiday of the summer.
The weekend started Friday with a couple of garden projects which involved moving a sprinkler and building two small walls out of rampart blocks. Both projects improved the appearance of my flowerbeds, but left my husband and me with a few sore muscles.
My husband and I observed Memorial Day a little early by visiting four cemeteries Saturday. We took flowers to Taylorsville, Murray, North Ogden, then Wellsville. In North Ogden we arrived in time to hear a veterans' group rehearsing for a military funeral. The haunting sound of taps brought a lump to my throat.
I'd never been to the Wellsvile cemetery before, though a large portion of the people buried there are relatives, and I've visited Logan many times. I wanted to visit my grandmother's grave. It took some serious searching and the help of a professional photographer who was chronicling tombstones for an online geneology service, but we finally found it.
My grandmother, Roselia, was a young woman in her twenties when she died leaving five small children, one of which was my mother. My grandfather eventually remarried and moved to another state where at the end of his long life, he was buried beside his second wife. I don't know if such things matter to the deceased, but I was glad to see she was buried near her three sisters who died as children, her parents, and her maternal grandparents, Azial and Emeline Riggs. My ancestors were among those first rugged pioneers who settled in beautiful Cache Valley and visiting that cemetery and seeing tombstones with the names I'd only seen before on charts gave me a pleasant sense of continuity with my family's past.
We started the real Memorial Day by cooking breakfast for our children and their families. The family wasn't complete; two sons-in-law had to work and our son and his wife were away on a little trip. I thought it ironic that our son-in-law who is a wounded vet had to work on the day set aside to honor those who served our country in combat. In his absence I made omelets which is usually his specialty while other family members took turns overseeing the strawberry pancakes.
I get hungry for strawberry pancakes every spring. My mother used to pick strawberries from her garden, crush some of them to make strawberry syrup, cut the rest in small pieces, and layer the syprup and berries between layers of pancakes or waffles, then top the concoction with whipped cream. It's was a great way to start the summer.
Comments can include anything concerning Memorial Day or the beginning of summer rituals. I'll also be posting on the V-Formation blog tomorrow. Any comments attached to that blog will also count toward this win-a-book contest.