Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Association for the Beautification of the Graves of the Glorious Dead

Mierlo War Cemetery, Mierlo, The Netherlands -...

As far as I know, there aren’t any songs pertaining to it. And I can’t think of one movie that’s built around it. But this is the Memorial Day Weekend.

You can tell it’s the beginning of summer holiday weekend, can’t you? The weather’s warm–at least here in Okie Land–people are crowding the grocery stores in preparation for get-togethers, getting their boats ready to take off for the lake and it seems everyone is busy getting ready to play.

Even here on the blog, only three sluts posted this week, and that’s if you count me. 🙂

Most of us work, work, work and hurry, hurry, hurry, just to get ready for this holiday weekend. And that’s just a little bit strange when I think about it.

It’s not as if we’re going Europe or Hawaii for the celebration. So why do we do it? Why do we stop our lives and neglect whatever we can that won’t cause us too much trouble, so we can get ready? Especially when we know there’ll be just that much more to do when we get back to normal?

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Broken Hearts and Stones

Can you read it?

 Here’s what it says: Nanie. Dau of WH and Lizzie Clements. Died Nov. 8, 1896. AGE 5 yrs 7 mos. REST IN PEACE.

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Here’s another one.

I doubt if you can read this one. The picture is a bird (dove?) with something in its mouth.

Probably still can’t read it. Right?

How about now?

Still a little hard, isn’t it? Here’s what it says: Maxine Robertson. Born and Died Jan. 3, 1901.

Imagine both sets of parents’ aching  hearts? I know lots of babies and small children died around the turn of that century, but it couldn’t make losing them any easier.

Here’s something that for me is almost as sad–both tombstones are broken. You can see in the first one, it’s been lying on the ground for so long there’s grass growing between the stone and the base. 

The one belonging to Baby Maxine, who was born and died on the same day, is lying flat on top of the base.

I don’t know who is responsible for upkeep of tombstones, especially old ones. What if there’s not any family left to take care of them? What do we do? Just leave them lying on the ground?

Or maybe I could mix up a little concrete and take it with me the next time Carollea and I walk around the cemetery.


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Now I Get It!

A Christmas market in Clifton Mill, Ohio, Unit...

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I might have mentioned that I’m a walker. A few years ago when we lived in Pryor Creek, I walked  just to have a little time without someone wanting me to hurry up and get something done. 

I loved working with G-Man at our pharmacy, and having three little boys was the best thing this side of heaven, but I craved a little time on my own.

Now I walk  because the doctor told me I have to, and because I found out how good it makes me feel. Plus it burns off a few of the calories that find their way into my bod. *sigh* (I’ll have tell you about Aunt Betty one of these days.)

Walking is good for the heart, spirit, muscles, attitude and just about everything else. I can only think of two times when it might not be good.

  1. If you have a worn out joint and are ambulating bone-on-bone.
  2. If the only place you have to walk makes it necessary to play dodge car. 🙂

So we layered up and walked yesterday. It was about 25 degrees, and with wind chill (it was blowing!) it was c-o-l-d! But I look good in blue, so I enjoyed it anyway. LOL

We walk in the Woodland Cemetery on top of cemetery hill (doesn’t every town have a hill named that?) and this time of year, it’s just beautiful.

For a few weeks, we admired the colors of the leaves in the surrounding woods. Now we’re enjoying the beautiful decorations showing up on the graves.

To be honest, I always wondered about seasonal decorating at cemeteries. The permanent residents are past enjoying the decorations on their graves. (Grandma isn’t there. She’s in Heaven!) Why is it done?

My family decorates on Memorial Day, but some people make their loved ones’ graves pretty all year round. Grave blankets are showing up (a flat evergreen covering that usually has big red bows) as are artificial poinsettias, garlands, angels, Merry Christmases and a not little bit of bling. 

We even found mistletoe on the road under our feet! 

Then I saw something that cleared that question up for me–a friend, decorating her father’s grave with red and green garland on a shepherd’s crook (plant hanger) and the banner, JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.

These people aren’t decorating to keep the departed happy. They’re doing it to make the place a little more pleasant for other people who visit, to let others know their family hasn’t been forgotten, and (as in my friend case) to share her witness in a gentle way.

Do you decorate your family’s graves for Christmas? If so, thanks! Us walkers love having something new to look at (and talk about) once in a while. <G>