Saturday, May 28, 2011

When Photos and Memories Are All That Are Left

It isn't as obvious from this view, but my favourite tree at Prairie Rose Cemetery is dying - another victim of the pine bark beetle or whatever has been causing these stately old trees to die off the past several years. This tree has stood in the southwest corner of the cemetery for as long as I can remember. I have heard it said it was one of the trees marking the original four corners of the cemetery.
There were other changes in the cemetery this morning when I put flowers on the grave sites of my Mom & Dad, Sister and Nephew: a second grave and stone are now in the 'new' part of Prairie Rose. The former 'new' area (southeast side) is nearly full.
Had my father followed his family tradition, he would have been buried at Oakland Cemetery - the one we refer to as Quincy Cemetery - where his parents, sisters, grandparents and great-grandparents lie in eternal rest. However, he chose to be interred in the country cemetery two miles from where he lived the majority of his life.
Prairie Rose is a fitting name. It is a lovely and peaceful site. Visiting it is like recalling not only the neighborhood I remember, but also the names of the people who were my parents' early neighbors. As I read those names, I remember something about each one as well as where they lived - many of their home sites now gone - Jackson, Humbert, Brown, Vogel, Steadman, Rogers, Rimmer, Casteel, Hadley, Smejdir, Thomas, Lund, Johnson, Little, Amdor, Moore, Walters, Kapple, Perry, Mitchell, Travis, Leonard, Palmer, Hutchison, Lundquist, Schaffer, Reichardt, Shearburn, Septer, Olive, Law, Bycroft, Archer, Swartz, Goldsmith, Jenkins - even the Tuck of 'Tuck Corner' and many, many more.
Sometimes I read a name and wonder why they are buried here - like the Powell family. Then I read the dates of death in 1957 of father, son and daughter, with the mother being buried many years later - and remember that she was a Leonard; the driver of the car in which the rest of her family was killed. Theirs is not the only sad story - there are many others, like the Law baby and the Little son; my own sister, a young mother, and her son, my nephew, who found life too hard to live; the Reichardt daughter and the Steadman son, who also chose their own ways out of life on earth. Each name has a story whether a life cut short or one long-lived; a pillar of the community, a simple farmer or devoted mother. It is my privilege to remember them all as long as I can and to visit them once again each Memorial Day Weekend.

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