Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day

When I was a kid, Memorial Day was one of my favorite holidays.
This little country church is just 3 miles from where I grew up, down a dusty country road. My dad attended this church when he was a young boy, but it closed in the 50s and he and my grandparents started to go to church in town.

Although the church was officially closed, every Memorial Day a special service would be held. There would be a guest minister who would come out and conduct the service. One year I said the Gettysburg Address, which was amazing because I was painfully shy. My grandmother would play the hymns for the service on the piano. I loved to watch her play....her fingers would fly over those keys. She made it look so effortless.

The little church was packed with people from the community, and some who had left but
would make a point to come back and attend this service. I loved how everyone came together.

After the service, homemade cookies, lemonade, and coffee were served and everyone would mix and mingle and walk through the adjoining cemetery visiting loved ones they had lost.

For the last 35 or so years, my dad has had the honor of putting up flags on the graves of fallen soldiers and veterans at our little country cemetery. The Friday before, we would pile in the pick up, head to the cemetery and my brother and I would race around and see who could put up the most flags. We always had to do this the Friday before so those who came to cemetery prior to Memorial Day were sure to see their loved ones graves decorated. It amazing how many soldiers and veterans a small farming community dad included.

My favorite part of the morning was after the service. My friends Susan, Sandra, and I would roam the cemetery while our parents chatted with neighbors.

This is one stone we walked by at least a million times. My grandparents were planners and had their plot purchased and this stone put up about 30 years ago. I always thought it was a little morbid to still be alive and walk by your own stone, but they didn't see it that way.

In all my years of roaming the cemetery, I never thought I would see this. In a corner of the family plot, not too far from my grandma, is our first child who was born at rest. It is comforting to know that he is in such a beautiful, peaceful place and that my grandmother is up there taking care of our Maddie.

I love to stand there on the hill and just take in the views. Every once in a while you will see a small herd of deer roaming through the fields. I especially like to go and listen to the wind rustle through the trees and just soak up the peacefulness of the country.

Memorial Day services are no longer held in our little country church and it has stood empty for years falling victim to vandalism. Soon there will be new life breathed into that church. It is currently undergoing restoration which will bring it back to its original glory and will be available for weddings.....getting ready for future generations to create their own memories of this little country church.


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