May 26, 2007

A weathered old pine with it's gnarled branches and a top lost long ago to the fierce winds that shriek over this hilltop stands a silent watch over a small cemetery in northeast Iowa. We buried my dad here two summers ago and returned this week to decorate his grave.
My grandmother who died in 1937 when my dad was only five is buried here with a large number of her family. As I strolled along the rows of stones I can only assume that our ancestors originally farmed in this area as family history was not very well recorded in our family. The oldest of the stones dates to 1877 but surprisingly there aren't any dated from the flew epidemic of 1918. As I try to figure out who was who and assemble some sort of linage I am struck by the number of children's graves. Unnamed babies and those that passed by age one or two and one that was only 19.
Although Memorial Day was originally enacted to pay tribute to those who died in the service of their country, I remember as a kid that Dad still referred to it as Decoration Day and we would make a trip to leave flowers on the graves of loved ones.

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