I'd rather not say how many years it has been since I was a child, but some of my childhood memories are as clear as if they were yesterday. Such is the case every Memorial Day, or as my parents called it, "Decoration Day".
Each time I smell a carnation I am magically transported to Marv Wallace's house where I would go each year with my mother to pick out flowers to take to the cemetery.
One can't quickly brush by a red, pink, or white carnation to appreciate it's fragrance. You have to stop, breath deep, and fill your lungs with the sweet fragrance! The flowers, the colors, and the fragrances were unforgettable!
I don't know if Marv grew the flowers himself or if he bought them from a wholesaler. But in my little girl mind he was an amazing gardener to be able to grow enough carnations, daisies, iris, and others to fill all the buckets lined up in his backyard.
Ah yes, the Iris. Most of the Iris we used came from our own yard or my aunt's yard. There were gorgeous big purple and white ones growing in our yard. Once again, I can't look at an Iris without hearing in my mind my aunt's voice insisting that "they are not Iris, they are Flags!" She had definite opinions about many things! I think my dad would go out of his way to bring "Iris" into the conversation just to annoy her!
Daisies have always been one of my favorites. It's something about their simplicity and purity. For anyone who has spent summer afternoons making dolls out of flowers such as daisies and hollyhocks, you will remember the velvety feel of the soft white petals
Although I didn't fully understand it at the time, I knew it was a tender time for my parents as I watched them, holding hands, looking down at my sister's grave.
Today as I visit the cemetery with my own husband, the sight still takes my breath away. It seems the green grass, the green trees, and the bouquets of flowers, dotted with small red, white, and blue flags go on for miles. It is a tender time for me now as we visit not only the graves of my sister, but also my parents, grandparents, and other family members who have moved on. Though tender, it is truly a place of peace and beauty.
Memorial or "Decoration Day", just as it does now, signaled the beginning of summer.
Summer at our house meant "cook outs" which was just another name for a good old barbecue. And when there was a barbecue, mom made her famous homemade ice cream! Peach was my most favorite but that usually had to wait until late summer. Vanilla, strawberry, and tutti-fruiti were early summer favorites. Nothing tastes more like summer than homemade ice cream!
As Dr Seuss said, "Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." My beloved memories of Decoration Day were not made from lavish weekend vacations or outings with expensive toys but of simple everyday occurrences that became special because of time spent with those I love.
Our hope is that you and your family will spend this weekend safely and making beloved memories of your own.
Happy Memorial Day
from all of us at
Young at Art