Friday, December 03, 2010

Day After Thanksgiving


It's the day after Thanksgiving, and my dad and I went to the cemetery south of Noble off highway 77 where my mom is buried. I didn't want to go empty-handed, so I suggested bringing silk flowers. My dad had already donated all my silk lilies to the church, so that was not successful. We ended up going into the back yard to my mother's favorite rose bushes and cutting off three yellow roses and one red rose. We put them in a vase, which we brought with us.

The goal was to try to decide on a headstone. What dimensions? What color? What kind of design?

As we stood at my mother's grave, a woman drove up with a clutch of red and white silk poinsettias. She took out the yellow and orange chrysanthemums and replaced them with the red and white blooms.

"It's funny. Since my husband died, I don't decorate for Thanksgiving or Christmas. He was all about it. But, well, I don't know."

She placed the Thanksgiving chrysanthemums on the ground. "If they still look good, I like to share them with little Roger over there," she said. "He never has anything on his grave."

To tell the truth it was the first time since my mother passed away that I had brought anything out. It did seem very sad to see her grave -- no marker, except for the little temporary marker with a photo taken years before. The dirt was compacted with mud cracks and a couple of thick tire tracks. I blocked the intrusive thoughts that started to push their way in.

"It's tough," I said. "It brings back too many memories."

I invariably thought of my grandmother during Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. My grandmother made a few things for Thanksgiving that seemed to be fairly unique -- fruit and nut salad, and, if I remember correctly, pistachio jello. Lemon merengue pie was also a "must," with the most amazingly fluffy merengue.

Cooking is chemistry.

The day was not warm, but nor was it inordinately chilly. The cemetery had a remarkably warm, soothing feeling, due in part that it was bordered on three sides by pastures and a couple of herds of tranquil looking Black Angus.

At least 60 percent of the headstones had flowers or other decorations. There were a few flags, and one seemed to have an assortment of toys.

I was surprised to see how many names I recognized -- one was the assistant branch manager for the bank I have used for the last 20 years. Her husband was buried just three rows up from my mother. Her name was next to that of her husband, along with the dates of their marriage. He passed away in 2005 -- I remember her telling me about it, and how tragic his last few weeks were, with complications from chemotherapy. Five years ago.

Can she ever remarry? Does it seem odd that she would be buried next to her previous husband? I guess not -- I mean, I know they had at least a daughter together, and at least one grandchild.

I'll definitely bring something for my mother's grave sometime before Christmas.