Memorial Day, or “Decoration Day,” as Steve’s mother always called it, is a time to remember those who have died. Even though many people especially remember veterans, we also remember all those dear people that are no longer with us.
Steve and I took a pilgrimage last week to cemeteries where loved ones are buried. His sister, Nancy, has always carried on the family tradition of putting flowers on graves for Memorial Day. Since her husband died this year in April, she is alone and welcomed Steve’s offer to accompany her to add flowers to the graves.
We arrived in Bedford, Indiana, around 10:30. Without thinking of a need for physical/social distancing, Steve gave her a big hug. Later he apologized, but her response was reassuring: “I’d have been mad if you hadn’t!”
Steve had thought we’d go in our car, buy flowers, and take them to the cemetery. As I predicted, Nancy had already bought flowers, tools and flowers were in her car, and she drove. Big sisters have the prerogative to make such decisions.
First we went to Trinity Springs Cemetery, about 30 minutes from Bedford. The road was curvy and scenic and we had good conversation. Since Nancy is so isolated due to the pandemic, we were glad we were there in person for her to talk to for a while.
At the cemetery, she pulled in, then adeptly backed down through the cemetery. I held my breath, thinking of the possibility of toppling headstones, but she did it very well. At 82, she still has great driving skills.
She brought a saddle of artificial flowers that she’d made for her parents’ graves and then she and Steve planted geraniums in front of the headstone. Steve offered to do the digging, but she knew exactly the easiest spot where she’d planted flowers before and did it well.
Then we moved on to the graves of Aunt Metta and the Dillman grandparents, putting a saddle on Aunt Metta’s stone and planting geraniums in front of each. Aunt Metta was Steve and Nancy’s mother’s sister who had no children. She was close to Nancy and Steve when they were growing up, and Nancy helped her a lot as she aged. She was very demanding of Steve and I think helped mold him into a responsible adult. She was always precious to me and to our children.
We paused a moment at the grave of Uncle Omer Dillman who was tragically shot due to mistaken identity, not quite 21, while touring Montana.
I enjoyed taking pictures of the process, and especially the one of Steve in front of Trinity Spring Church of Christ, where he preached his first sermon. It hasn’t changed that much in 58 years.
We did not retrace our route, but instead proceeded on down the road. That road through Dover Hill is famous for its nine—yes, 9!—curves as you drive into Shoals, the county seat of Martin County. Nancy took each one well, and we enjoyed counting—and knowing that we were finally at the ninth one.
We sat in the car and ordered our lunch from the carhops at Bo-Mac Drive-In—pork tenderloin sandwich, fish sandwich, hamburger, fries, onion rings, Diet Cokes, and soft-serve ice cream for dessert. Of course Steve got their version of a DQ Blizzard.
Nancy drove back to Bedford and we went Beech Grove Cemetery where the Lambrechts are buried. Aunt Alma Lambrecht was Steve’s mother’s oldest sister, and her husband, Uncle Charlie, and Steve were very close. They helped raise Steve, too. As we’ve downsized, I’ve found many books and pillows that Aunt Alma gave our children. So at Uncle Charlie’s grave we did find a relative to honor for his service to our country.
All in all, it was a lovely day of remembrance. We enjoyed visiting with Nancy and she had done a great job of planning our day—much better than we would have done. It was a good reminder to us of the importance of remembering our loved ones and sharing stories about them. Our own memories are reinforced by hearing the memories of others.
And the stones are significant reminders of lives well-lived for the Lord.
Remember the days of old;consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. Deuteronomy 32:7