This morning, we drove to the little village of Burnside, Pennsylvania, to put flowers on the graves of Karen's grandparents and great-grandparents for Memorial Day. It was a quiet drive on a Sunday morning through the rural Central Pennsylvania countryside, much of it following the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. This has been a wet spring, and it was threatening to rain later in the day, so we were in a hurry to get the job done.
The cemetery had been mowed earlier in the week, possibly for the first time this spring. It was a rough mowing, and one of our first tasks was to clear away the clippings. Another family was there--a local couple whose parents knew Karen's grandmother well. They came prepared with a grass rake (the husband was on the cutting crew, it turns out) and they lent it to us to clear our graves. Then, we planted a total of 8 geraniums and a more than a dozen ageratims at four graves.
Heading home, we saw a young couple rafting on the Susquehanna and another man fishing in the middle of the stream. It was nice to drive through the small towns--Mahaffey, Curwensville, Grampian--and enjoy a Sunday drive. We got home without any serious rain and in time for Sunday brunch.
Later this week, I will head to Hermitage to put flowers on my family's graves. That is a bit less involved, since the cemetery does not allow live flowers. But I look forward to it every year, nevertheless.
I suspect that this Memorial Day tradition is one that is already fading, but I do enjoy it. It is nice to feel connected, even briefly, to family and community this way.