Remembering With Flair


Country Moonheadstone

I remember Memorial Day when I was a kid was a pretty somber event, as it should be in some ways. I remember it was also called Decoration Day and was always celebrated on May 30, regardless of which day of the week that date fell on. Moving it so that it is officially celebrated on the last Monday of May has taken some of the meaning away. Many times it becomes more of a kick-off to summer with a 3-day weekend instead of what its original intent was. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

I also remember that the only decorations that were placed on the graves were either real cut flowers or imitation plastic ones. I know I am dating myself but we had not even progressed to the silk flowers that that now have a more authentic look than plastic. What is even worse is my grandmother would pick up the old imitation posies and then take them home and wash and spruce them up and reuse them. Ugh!

I am so glad that, as this Memorial Day rolls around, we have so many more choices and each of us can remember in a personal way. No longer is it “one size fits all.” If you take a walk through cemeteries in this day and age it is refreshing to see how families and friends are customizing the graves of their loved ones and celebrating the person who they were.

Even head stones have changed dramatically. No longer are the choices only red or gray granite with only names and dates engraved on the front. I especially like the black granite with the light gray engraving depicting a wildlife scene, or in other instances, a scene showing a departed one’s life work or where they called home. Names of children and other inscriptions are also being engraved on the back of the stones.

So, if head stones are progressing, why shouldn’t the way we dress them up also change? Of course, flowers will always be the number one way of remembering. I love the cradles that fit over the stone. They dress up the whole stone while being out of the way for the sextons to mow. Some flower shops are also offering a special service for those of us who can’t always be near the cemeteries where are family are laid to rest. Jim’s home is 500 miles away in Pennsylvania so, for a nominal fee, Philip’s Flowers out of Mercersburg goes three times a year and changes the flowers in the cradle for spring/summer, fall and Christmas. What a nice service for those of us who can’t always be there.

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