We tend to spend a lot more time doing that as we get older. When I was younger, we spent this weekend, in part, traveling to graveyards in nearby counties to put flowers and flags on the graves of our ancestors. There, we often bumped into relatives we hadn’t seen for a long while, and we’d pull lawn chairs out of the trunk and sit and visit a while in the shade of the trees surrounding the little country cemeteries. Often, we’d get invited to one of their homes for a meal. Other times, we’d pull the coolers out of the trunk and have a picnic there in the shade by one of the old churches. Quite often, we’d swing by my great aunt’s little house and she insist on fixing us a full meal before we were allowed to leave. She’d have been heart-broken if we’d refused, no matter if we’d just gorged ourselves elsewhere. It was a social thing of course, as she didn’t get out-of-town company very often. Other days, we’d have family get-togethers at home, cook out, picnic, make ice-cream and visit with everyone attending. My “job” back then was mostly just to sit and listen as the older folks remembered aloud the days of the war and the depression, and of doing things the old ways. I learned a lot from those times.
These days, very few graves get decorated. People are too “busy” with their own little lives. There’s no time for remembering, or visiting, or getting together with the relatives. Heck, unless you’re one of the invading minorities, your family is probably dying off like mine. Most of my family is waiting on the other side. Those remaining never get together, even though I have some right here in town. I’m one of the old folks now, but there’s no-one to listen to my stories. Most of the younger generation has no respect for or interest in their elders. History, family, tradition and meaningful sacrifice mean nothing to them. My wife and I have learned how to make the best of our time and our own company, but I still miss the old folks and the old days, the old ways. © 2016