Monday, November 26, 2012

Celebrations

A more recent picture. 


Memorial day in the late 30’s and early 40’s was a day of real celebration. Anyway, it was if you lived in the country in Oklahoma. 
The country church we attended was located in the cemetery, called Bethel. I’m not sure which came first, the church or the cemetery.  The little brown shack was located behind the church. From there were the many graves, also by the side of the driveway. One side of the church was just a meadow, no graves were there at that time. There were a few cedar trees  along the driveway going into the church grounds. 
Preparing for memorial day started a day or so before, and it meant picking as many flowers as you had and putting them into buckets of water. Paper flowers made with crepe paper was another decoration that many created for the occasion. A gallon or two of lemonade and iced tea would be prepared and kept in a tub of ice. Ice came in blocks and if you wanted it crushed, you placed the block in a gunny sack and beat the heck out of it with whatever they used. I don't remember the details. 
It was an all day affair, because you met all the family members and neighbors. The kids ran around, and had a great time playing in the driveway. You were not allowed to run in the cemetery because stepping on a grave was a grave no-no. Adults milled around and visited all the graves of people they had known and much visiting and laughing and just catching up on each others lives. It would last most of the day and enjoyed by all. 
The church is no longer in the cemetery, and the part that was empty has now been filled. I have family buried there, my brothers, parents, grandparents, uncles. 
This is something I should have posted on Memorial day, but I’m always at least a day late. 
When I was a kid it was always referred to as Decoration day. Anyway, my mother called it that. She may have been the only one. 
My family started a family tradition several years ago. It was a family reunion that was celebrated in May. There were always strawberries galore, and somehow the special day was dubbed, Strawberry Day. I am not sure who named it, maybe someone in the family knows. It was one gigantic picnic in someone’s yard. The family grew larger and Strawberry Day grew larger. I think the day first started as a birthday party, because Dad and Ray (a son) shared the same birthday which was May 26th. Finally a grandson was born on Strawberry day. That made the day even more special.  There were other grand kids that came close to being born on the special day. When a baby was due in May, we all crossed our fingers, hoping it would be born on Strawberry day. The family has let Strawberry day slip away since our parents and a couple older siblings have passed away. It was nice while it lasted. I was only able to attend one Strawberry Day because I lived so far away. I think it was the last one they had. I remember it was so cold that day, we ended up in the house. It was at Gene and Glenda’s that year and the house was bulging at the seams.