I grew up in southern Missouri and Decoration Day was one of my favorite holidays. Never heard of it? Maybe you call it Memorial Day. Technically today at least, Decoration Day might not be held ON Memorial Day, but it’s right around there and the sentiment is the same.
So, what is Decoration Day? It’s a day, where everyone connected with a particular church/graveyard get together at that church/graveyard to remember the people we knew or were related to. In my case it was a small one room church that was built on land one of my great-great-great (or more) grandfather’s donated to the community. The church doesn’t have regular services anymore, but the cemetery is still open and Decoration Day goes on. There is a big covered dish dinner and a lot of ladies with Ozarkian accents pushing chocolate cake. There’s seven layer salad (made with lots of mayo), deviled eggs, Watergate salad and Koolaide.
There are people you don’t remember who pinch your cheeks and say “You must be so and so’s girl.” There are graves of babies who died in the early 1800’s that you pause over and think about who otherwise wouldn’t have been thought of for decades. And there are new graves of people you perhaps knew or were related to that you linger over too. And you probably have a tear or two leak out looking at both of these graves.
And there’s a creek with crawdaddies and sparkly rocks, and an outhouse to pee in–if you absolutely must.
And sitting here thinking about all of it, I wish more than anything in the world I was there right now.
Happy Memorial Day. Spend a few minutes thinking about the people who lived before us, then have a big slice of Coca Cola Cake and go catch some minnows–for me.