Memorial Day is big in my family. When I was growing up my folks ordered plants for the concrete pots on the family grave sites. We'd travel to Athens, Maine for my Dad's family and Farmington, Maine to plant flowers for my mother's family. Frequently, we'd spend time in Farmington seeking the stone of one of our anscestors. Beginning in junior high and continuning through high school, I marched with the band every Memorial Day. We were a consolidated school district and six towns had Memorial Day services, so the junior high would march in three towns and the high school band in the other three - swapping towns every year. As my folks aged, EW and I would travel to Athens and Farmington in their place and some of my best memories are the couple of years I was able to coordinate those visits to the cemetery with those of my cousins and my aunt. As we got more involved in the boat and EW began to work on weekends, I did not travel to their graves as often, but my mom and dad and others who have passed remain in my heart.
Here we sit on the hook in Deshaies, Guadeloupe and this morning a Facebook entry by one of my cousins moved me to tears. I love what her minister said about God Moments. Fran is certainly one of those people who create God Moments for others. To her credit, I know that she felt this adventure was a God Moment for her, as well. Here's Fran's message to me for Memorial Day.
Best wishes to all and please, watch a parade for me on Monday and water some flowers on a grave this week. It counts.
Hello, thinking of you on Memorial Weekend. We have had a 68 year old student minister who asks us to look for the God moments in each day. I had more than my share today and it involves you. I said Barb must be thinking of going to the cemetery but cannot. So as it happens Ken and I happened to be going through Athens today. We were on our second three day (more like 48 hours) part of our 40th Anniversary trip. Ken's Mom has been very ill and we were not comfortable going far so this part of our trip took us to E. Millinocket and Greenville.
Coming home I said wouldn't it be nice if we visit the Huff lot for Barb. Ken did his version of eye rolling and reminded me we had tried this once before and hadn't even found the cemetery. I plowed right ahead; now I had technology on my side. I will call Barb's sister. Try getting the free 411 operator to understand Pat's last name. Well it worked but they weren't answering. So to my new GPS and only one cemetery comes up in Athens. (I found out later there were 3.) The road name was different than "Lena" knew but after our first pass by she found the cemetery for us. Then the non-eye roll again.
Ken: Do you know how many stones there are here?
Fran: But it is quite new and see how many old ones plus I remembered it is on top of a hill.
Ken: And why would I trust your directions? (Barb here: Ken says this with love – some exasperation, but love. I know Ken.)
I see a man about my age 50+ lbs overweight with no shirt mowing. I follow him for a while. Too noisy to hear me. Stand almost in front of him. He shuts down the mower and stops. You have to know we have had about a week + of rain. Grass is very tall and he is trying very hard to get the grass cut before Memorial.
Mower: Huff- which one there are about 30 here? Marguerite sounds familiar. Where is it?
Fran: On a hill.
Mower takes me to about three other Huffs on a hill. I apologize for disturbing him and offer to look on my own.
Mower: But I really want to help you. We don't even have a chart. By now he has put his shirt on and is moving at a good clip over the cemetery saying Marguerite I remember her, I think I helped bury her.
I look up and there is your folks’ gravesite. He insists on waving and yelling to Ken to bring him to the grave before he leaves. As if a slightly hard of hearing person 10 rows away could hear him. Someone had left a very nice window box of flowers. I went to the car. Picture 80+ and we still have winter jeans on wandering all over the cemetery.
Fran: Take a drink fast. Ken Double non-eye rolling and I grab his bottle and mine and empty them in the window box. Now for all the hay on the graves from grass being so long when mowed. Well Ken just happened to have purchased a new rake on our trip. So back I go up the hill and rake. Ken: So what are you going to do with the grass?Fran: How about in the woods? (Barb here: We always put the dead flowers and grass in the woods. Their site is pretty close to the woods. ) He agreed and then we left to go to a convenience store to get some water.
Later, Ken: Good night.
Fran: I will be a minute just writing to Barb.
Ken: You aren't telling her everything are you?
Fran: Of course! We all have our adventures...
One more moment from today, a man whose 86 year old Dad who has had a stroke came up as he couldn't find his grandfather’s grave that his Dad had sent him to find.
New man: Do you work here or are you tending a special grave?
Fran A special one but if you stand in front of the mower over there.........