I remember youthful excitement as the honor guard fired their salute, and, often before they had left, scrambling, along with peers, to grab a spent shell or three as a souvenir. Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, cousins, sibling gathered to pay respect to those who had died protecting us, or had passed away since serving in the last war or police action, while some of us too young and dumb to have our draft cards yet looked for fun where we could find it. Michael Anania reminds me what Memorial Day was like in my family of origin. Have yours been like his?
trillium, In Memoriam © harrington
It is easily forgotten, year toyear, exactly where the plot is,though the place is entirely familiar—a willow tree by a curving roadwaysweeping black asphalt with tender leaves;
damp grass strewn with flower boxes,canvas chairs, darkskinned old ladiescircling in draped black crepe family stones,fingers cramped red at the knuckles, discolorednails, fresh soil for new plants, old rosaries;
such fingers kneading the damp earth gently downon new roots, black humus caught in grey hairbrushed back, and the single waterfaucet,birdlike upon its grey pipe stem,a stream opening at its foot.
We know the stories that are told,by starts and stops, by bent men at strange joyregarding the precise enactments of their owngesturing. And among the women there will bea naming of families, a counting off, an ordering.
The morning may be brilliant; the seasonis one of brilliances—sunlight throughthe fountained willow behind us, its splayedshadow spreading westward, our shadows westward,irregular across damp grass, the close-set stones.
It may be that since our walk there is faltering,moving in careful steps around snow-on-the-mountain,bluebells and zebragrass toward that placebetween the willow and the waterfaucet, the wayis lost, that we have no practiced step there,and walking, our own sway and balance, fails us.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.