Ways Listed to Pay Tribute on Memorial Day
By Paula Mitchell
Memorial Day. One has heard of it. Of course, one has. But here’s what a person may not realize: to many in West Virginia, Memorial Day has another name as well. It is called Decoration Day, and it’s a chance for people to remember and honor not just soldiers who have died, but also any loved ones – family, friends, sometimes even strangers – who are no longer with a person by beautifying and decorating their graves.
Decoration Day was an Appalachian tradition that actually pre-dated Memorial Day. Decoration Day is often celebrated on or near Memorial Day and focuses not just on honoring military dead, but also on honoring and celebrating friends and family who have died.
Family, friends, churches, and communities gather on Decoration Day to clean cemeteries and place beautiful, colorful flowers, often artificial ones so they last longer, on the graves of departed loved ones.
Sometimes singing was involved, or a pot luck supper in the graveyard would occur. Some folks would travel hundreds of miles to return to their roots to participate in this event. In some ways, it was like a family reunion. In other ways, it was like a worship service and a memorial service in one. This was usually held on Sundays.
Picture, if one will, people coming together across time and space to honor loved ones, which meant that those loved ones, even in death, were bringing communities together in fellowship. Picture, if one will, graves freshly cleared of vines and overgrowth. Picture closely mown grass. Picture colorful flowers on every grave. The gathering was like an extended family reunion of sorts.
Ideally, a “buddy poppy” would be bought from the American Legion, with the proceeds going to disabled soldiers. It is only fitting that Memorial Day, a day that began with the tradition of laying flowers on graves, would also include a symbolic flower, representing honor and also the rebirth and the continuity of life.
This Memorial Day weekend, perhaps a gathering of folks could clean a cemetery on one’s property. That would definitely be a fitting way to honor the dead.
Life’s daily instruction to make life more enjoyable include the following:
- Find time to play.
- Hug often.
- Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make one’s parents proud.
- Do at least one good deed every day.
- Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90 percent of one’s happiness or misery.
The Dame’s Rocket (wild phlox) has been sporting the variegated colors of purple, pink, and white along the South Fork. What appeared in this community after the 1985 flood has had the winds blow it “to the four corners” of the county. Indeed, they are beautigorgeous!
Small showers of rain have fallen in these parts, allowing the pasture to grow for the soon-to-be making of hay.
Yards are beginning to be eye-pleasing. Debris and unsightly “garbage” is beginning to be eradicated from the landscapes. Many folks are hanging up hummingbird and bird feeders. Yards are being beautified with flowers and mulch. Nature, and the motorists, are certainly embracing this new venture of beautification.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.” — African Proverb
“No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” — Roger Ebert
“With so many things coming back in style, I can’t wait until morals, respect, and intelligence become a trend again.” — Denzil Washington
“You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not.” — Isabel Allende
“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” — Bill Watter
Sitting on the porch swing to hear the “Talk of the Grove.”
Evelyn Varner, Judy Costello and Janet Judy motored to Savannah, Georgia, with Abbott Trailways last Monday morning. Day one included dinner at the Pirate’s House, being one of the oldest buildings still standing in Savannah. Day two found the three enjoying a tour of Savannah by way of trolley. They were introduced with the very interesting history of the town, followed with dinner at the Paula Dean’s Restaurant. The evening concluded with a sightseeing riverboat ride on the Georgia Queen. There was a lot of opportunities to do some shopping on the town. Day three found them having the pleasure of taking a Tybee Island tour, which included the Lighthouse and the Discovery Center. The evening was very much enjoyed with a dinner at the Crab Shack. A surprise show at one of the oldest theatres featured Dancing Unlimited on Broadway. Day four found the group heading back home stopping in for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Rock Hill, North Carolina.
Congratulations are in order for Evelyn Varner’s two graduating grandsons, Daniel Judy and Richard Marshall. Daniel Judy, son of Janet Judy, graduated from Blue Ridge Community where he has also been accepted into James Madison University this fall studying for his bachelor’s degree in architectural design and then furthering with a doctorate degree in universal design. Richard Marshall, son of Joyce Marshall, graduated from Spotswood High School. He will be attending Ferrum State College where he will be studying experimental science in forestry.
Visitors of Rosalee Grogg were Steven and Skyler Grogg, Marleta Wimer, Terry Grogg and Claude Castleberry.
Leslie, Shaun, and Ava Bowers enjoyed the sixth-grade field trip to Washington, DC, on Thursday. While there, they very much enjoyed exploring the museums and monuments.
Joel and Betsy Farrar of Lynchburg, Virginia, were Saturday visitors in the home of Willard and Judy Rader.
Helen and Rhonda Nash enjoyed a recent visit to Fredericksburg, Virginia, for Mother’s Day weekend. The fun included a trip to the cinema, Chinese takeout, games of Uno, bowling and pizza, and a Mother’s Day luncheon celebrated with many family members across four generations.
This week’s clickety-clacks for the chin waggers are as follows:
- Tides in the Bay of Fundy rise and fall as much as 50 feet every 12 hours.
- Pacific Coast Indians once used blankets for money.
- The crocodile is the closest living relative to the dinosaur.
- The Greeks believed the patterns on a peacock’s tail were once the hundred eyes of the mythical giant, Argus.
- Each U.S. President may design his own presidential flag.
- The Sahara Desert is larger in area then the 48 continental United States.
June birthdays include the following: Geneva Varner, first; Mary Frances Wadsworth, Bryan Simmons and Linda T. Rexrode, second; Karen Pitsenbarger, third; Carolyn Sponaugle, fourth; Dinah Mitchell and Dale Wilfong, sixth; Kaisley Kiser, eighth; Marsha Keller and Bryards Mitts, ninth; Brianna Roberts, Paden Rightsell and Mike Armstrong, 10th; Jayden Roberson and Betty Rexrode, 11th; Kelly Hartman, Ed Keller, Carolyn Wilfong and Stanley Kile, 12th; and Betty Gail Hartman, 13th.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Charles Anderson, Roger and Joan Ashley, Mercedes Aumann, Vernon “Fuzzy” Baldwin, Lynn Beatty, Debbie Beal, Jed Conrad, Jeff Craig, Mary Eye, Donna Fleisher, Lola Graham, Jordan Greathouse, Marvin Hartman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Gary and Jackie Hills, Virgil Homan, Jr., Myrtle Hoover, Debbie Horst, Mike Jamison, Alice Johnson, Richard Judy, Danny Kimble, Dennis Kincaid, Kim Kline, Melissa Lambert, Robert Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Betty Mallow, Roger and Skip Mallow, Neil McLaughlin, the Gary Mitchell family, Melvin Moats, Aaron Nelson, Ruth Nelson, Don Nilsen, Cheryl Paine, Barbara Parker, Sutton Parrack, Shirley Pratt, Alda Propst, Kathy Propst, Linda Propst, Sheldon Propst, K.D. Puffenbarger, Mary and Eldon Puffenbarger, Dick Rexrode, Harley Propst, Jason Rexrode, Jimmy Rexrode, Pam Rexrode, the Tim Rodgers family, the Max Rodriguez family, Donna Ruddle, John Ruddle, Annie Simmons, Barry and Phyllis Simmons, Davey Simmons, Erin Simmons, Robbie Sites, Ona Smith, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, Amy Vaus, Judy Williams and Margaret Wimer.