Decoration Day

Mama worked in the yard when we were kids, growing perennial flowers and a big vegetable garden all the way across the backyard. She had snowball bushes, rose-of-sharon bushes, and  two types of roses (one was a miniature wild rose.) Mama grew daylilies which she called “flags” and honeysuckle grew untended everywhere.
She fought a battle every summer against honeysuckle, one flowering vine I can remember digging up and planting in the flower bed by my front porch at my home in Okmulgee. Oh, I loved the smell of honeysuckle and the way it spread up over the porch pillars and across the porch roof. The first year was heavenly, but then it became a pest.
The snowball bushes had big balls of tiny individual flowers and she loved to remind us that hese were snowballs, not hydrangeas. She picked giant white snowballs and roses, the pink ones that were so common but so lovely, armsful of roses to decorate graves for “Decoration Day,” which was what her family called Memorial Day.
Mother was dedicated to Decoration Day. Usually I left it up to my sister to take her to the cemeteries to decorate graves while I did other things. It was nice when we all went to the cemetery but I was busy with life so it didn’t seem as important. After all, our loved ones aren’t there, only their bodies. Our loved ones are with the Lord.
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV.
In the last 10 years, I started taking her. One year she told us, “You girls go on without me,” so we did, then showed her pictures, but it was still about Mother and Memorial Day.
Last year Mother passed away and is buried by Daddy in the same cemetery where most of her family are buried—her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and cousins.
Somehow with the passing of our mother, decorating graves and honoring our deceased loved ones has taken on new importance. This year and last, my sister and I decorated all the graves at Bluejacket cemetery.
We have taken over the loving task of decorating graves from our mother.