To Re-Mind. To bring to the thoughts and heart again. Remember. To walk between the rows of headstones. In an instant they become more than names carved into the rock. They are words, smiles, laughter etc etc etc.
Sarah, grandmother. A farm woman, who milked her last cow by hand into her 80’s. Who let her grandkids play in her jewelry box. (I have her biggest, gaudiest pink earrings.) She taught me to sew on a machine with foot power. According to my dad, she was the easiest person in the world to get along with.
Bill, maternal grandfather. A quiet man who did his best to destroy the weeds in his corn and bean fields. He had a row of snuff cans on the window ledge by the kitchen sink. He was seldom generous but when he was, it over the top.
Bill, paternal grandfather. He retired from farming and lived in town across the street from the park. I loved to ride in the front seat of his 58 blue Plymouth. I am thrilled when I can find pieces of this man in the people I meet. Of course, as the oldest granddaughter I enjoyed gifts of teddy bears and dolls. He died at the young age of 62.
Uncle Orville on my mom’s side. He was her 2nd brother, she being the oldest. He was killed in a car wreck at the age of 23, having served in WWII as a sailor. I was almost two when that happened. His death brought a terrible unspoken loss to the family. In my mind he is this handsome (true) rebel hero that raced around the country roads on his Indian motorcycle. I always look for incredible things to happen in my life on his birthday.
Uncle Orlend on my mom’s side. He was her 1st brother who lived in the shadow of his younger brother, though both were equally tall and handsome.
Uncle Billy on my mom’s side. He was her baby brother. He was only 13 when I was born and there are many pictures of him carrying me on his shoulders. No blizzard could keep him home if there was a bowling ball that needed to be rolled.
Aunt Darlene and Uncle Marvin, my mom’s only sister and her husband. I loved to stay at their home and play with the boy cousins. My uncle was one of the original dumpster divers. He found old toys and could fix anything. They were a very loving couple.
Great grandfather Bill. He was still sitting on his front porch with his leather flyswatter when I was in my early teens. He lived with his daughter and my grandfather in the house by the park. He built his first house from a kit ordered from the catalog.
Mom & Dad. The last to be added. They rest together under a headstone that bears the names of their 5 children. The stone sits on the edge of cemetery and when I drive along that road at night, it is the only stone that catches the headlights and winks back…as if to say, I see you and I am watching and please be careful.
Memorial Day in a small town in southern MN. The school marching band gathers at the cemetery and plays Taps. The military color guard fires a 21 gun salute. There is a full crowd in attendance. And it is very quiet and everyone is remembering.
Then the quiet is broken and the crowd slowly disappears.