Monday, May 19, 2008


This is a scan of another stamp chunky page. I thought it would go with what I planned on talking about today. I know I keep cheating by posting old stuff, but I didn't get anything new done this weekend. I've been kind of in a weird mood, kind of melancholy, feeling detached or displaced. I'm sure it's probably hormonal, but it kept me from being able to create, even when I had time. Whatever, I'm sure it will pass.

Today is a beautiful day here in Alabama. We are having actual spring weather this year, which I love! Most years recently, we've gone from winter to summer and then back to winter, with very little of the mild temperatures I enjoy so much. We may plant a garden today. It's a little late here in the South, but hubby's been busy with other farm stuff. I've been wanting to have a garden for years, but he has never wanted to. Finally talked him into it, but then first one thing or the other has prevented the actual doing.

To segue into the title, another tradition in these southern states is that the entire month of May is for what is called "Decoration". I understand from friends that moved here that this is not practiced up north. I wonder how far out of the deep South the practice extends? Of course, next weekend is Memorial Day and that I think is what brings all this on. To explain, graves at cemeteries are "decorated" with flowers and these different cemeteries will have a "Decoration Day" service on a specific Sunday during May. I can't describe anything about the services because my family has never been one to attend. I remember going to one cemetery when I was little and I think in the past and I'm sure still in some families that family reunions or gatherings occur in conjunction. The practice of family reunions has dwindled almost to extinction in our circle. Seems like people are just too busy these days or that is what I hear. It may be that there are still a few, but they have given up inviting us because when the girls were growing up, with me working full time and their activites, we didn't ever take the time to go to any.

I do remember going to some family reunions when I was young. My grandparents had built an outdoor pavilion for such gatherings, kind of like what you see at parks, with a tin roof, open sides, and ledges built in going round to hold food or your plate while you ate. There is a picture of one of these large gatherings and I do mean large. Isn't it something that they had a photographer come make a picture of it. I've never counted the number attending but it was my Dad's family, neighbors,friends, and extended families, like my Mom's family who would only have been related to my Mom. I wasn't born yet at this time, but I recall similar events and the cheek-pinching, playing with cousins, and lots of food. Because of them, I do have a notion of my distant cousins and who they are. My girls don't know a lot of theirs.

My Mom's family used to do this, too, though not on as grand of a scale. All her sister's and their families would gather at my grandparents little farm and eat. It was a tiny house, so mostly we stayed outside, only going in to make our plate. There were lots of barns and outbuildings, so all the cousins played in and about them and down in the woods or at the creeks. All make-believe with no toys to speak of. My Aunt Betty always had a camera and even a movie camera, so we even have a few films of us where we made up some stories she filmed for us.

It's sad we have gotten so busy. The closest we have to this type of get together now is when my Dad's family tries to get together at Christmas and July 4th. My Dad loved having everyone up to his house for a big BBQ and fireworks. Now with his Alzheimer's, he no longer knows, so last year was probably the last of that. My Mom's family used to try to get everyone together, but have pretty much given up.

I think one of the reasons for what I'm feeling is that the patterns of my life are shifting a lot at this time and I'm continually adjusting to all the changes.

Don't forget the giveaway for my 50th post. I put a link on the side so it would be easier to find. We'll be out of town a lot starting this Thursday, going to North Carolina to the races and coming back on Monday. Then that following Wednesday will be flying out to Texas to load up all of Emily and Craig's stuff in a Uhaul to move them completely back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I'm not sure if I'll take my computer to the races. I'm sure I could pick up a signal there, but we'll be on a generator for power in our camper and I've been told not to use a computer with a generator, that it's not good for it? I'll check in when we get back for sure though. So if you enter during those times and don't see it show up, it will eventually when I get time to check.


Holly said...

Like the post. I do not remember a lot of family reunions; especially not like the ones you described. I wish we still had the time to do things like that, but you are right, we have all gotten to busy. Its a shame, because your description of the reunions you went to sounded like a lot of fun. Hope you have a good day back at work! I get to see you in 2 days!!!! YAY!

Love you,

Beth said...

This was a great nostalgic post, Jill. I thought it was wonderful and it reminded me of getting together with my cousins and haveing a great time.
Not sure about your computer question, but I am assuming you talking about a laptop, do you have a battery for it?
I want a new laptop. Well have fun on your trip to the races! Have a great Memorial Day week-end!

Jeanie said...

This is fascinating, Jill. I remember my grandma and parents calling Memorial Day "Decoration Day" but didn't realize there was a whole month's worth of activities related to this in another region.

I have the warmest feelings about decorating the graves, and am planning to post on it sometime after I get my flowers in next weekend. It was a treasured memory of doing this with my mum as a child and young adult, and now find that I am the tradition keeper.

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