Memorial Day weekend was a time for reunions and family gathering for my family.
As the unofficial start of the summer season, everyone would first gather at the local family cemetery to put flags onto the family veterans that had passed away. Not many in my family have served, but it's still a big deal to help do general upkeep of the cemetery (mow and pull weeds) and then set flowers and flags on the grave sites.
Afterwards, we would gather at my uncle's farm (grandpa's older brother) for a barbeque. That was always nice. You got to see family that you may not get to see any other time of the year. So there was a lot of visiting to catch up on. The day always seemed to go by way too fast.
I was in my mid-twenties when I missed my first family reunion. I put to have it off two weeks in advance like I was supposed to.
The boss decided that there was too many of us wanting off and he made the decision that I was the one that had to work. It was hard for me to hold back the tears that weekend.
I never made it back to the yearly reunions. Slowly, but surely, the time came that they were never held. In a sad way, my grandpa and his four older brothers have their own reunion now. They are all finally together in heaven.
I find myself reflecting this time of year. Mostly about how many of my relatives that I have lost over the years.
I don't realize how many of them are gone until I actually start thinking about it. When they're gone, they're gone. You can go visit their grave sites, but it's really not the same.
That person is no longer there to share memories or stories of their life with you. As a kid, sometimes you roll your eyes. Once that person is gone, you start wishing he or she was still around to talk to.
So as Memorial Day comes closer, I get things ready. A few flowers and a couple of flags to put on the graves of my grandfather and uncle. That's all that I can do now.
I dread being the one to do that task, but it's one that I will do. I know that it's the right thing to do.
My stepdad tells me that there is no such thing as "the golden years" when you get old. The "golden years" according to him was the years that you spent as a kid. For every birthday that I live to see, the more that I think he is right.
Live life while you can and cherish those moments.
Photo property of Mel Boone.