Greetings! It is with joy to drive through the cemeteries and see the beautiful floral displays and some flags waving in the breeze. It is with sadness that I am unable to place floral arrangements on my husband buried in Virginia; and now that I am living up here, unable to place flowers on my second husband’s grave in Southern Oklahoma.

Greetings! It is with joy to drive through the cemeteries and see the beautiful floral displays and some flags waving in the breeze. It is with sadness that I am unable to place floral arrangements on my husband buried in Virginia; and now that I am living up here, unable to place flowers on my second husband’s grave in Southern Oklahoma. The reason I feel as if I am letting loved ones down, is because, come rain, storms or sunshine, my mother made sure all the loved ones had floral arrangements on their graves for Memorial Day! But, I am glad that I can go to the local cemetery and place flowers on my last husband’s grave, because I went with my mother through the years, placing floral arrangements on my father’s and grandparents’ graves; so, if Mother is looking down from Heaven, she will know that I tried to fulfill her wishes!

I think some of that floral ritual started many years ago, in the early 1900s, because as far back as I can recall, my mother always looked forward to this day, when, in those days, there weren’t any caretakers of the cemeteries, and each family had to care for their own loved one’s grave sites. My mother was from a large family, and I recall how everyone brought covered dishes and desserts, along with hoes, rakes and other needed tools, all loaded in cars but mostly wagons. I can recall how tall the weeds were, as all the children would run through them and hide behind the tombstones, playing hide-n-go-seek. When our parents got close to where we were playing, as we had to find another spot to play, as we were told not to play on or run across the graves. Finally, it was time to put the flowers, which were cut from rose bushes, and other flowers that had been grown in the yards, into the large metal cans. I recall mother and her sisters, all had hoes to prepare a place for the flowers, knowing they would soon be wilted and blown away. But, for this once a year event, and each grave had to be perfectly free of weeds, and flowers placed in memory for each loved one.

I recall when my late husband was selected to be president of a cemetery board association, for three small cemeteries in the area. I think each family was asked to pay twenty-five dollars for each mowing, which I think was three mowings, per year, but it kept the cemeteries looking nice.

Things have moved forward and now nearly all cemeteries, small and large, have cemetery board of directors. As I look back over the years, as my mother would say to me, “Baby, we sure have come a long ways!” 

Psalms 118:28 – “Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; thou are my God, I will exalt thee.”