Memorial, memories and imagery

Memorial Day came and went. The saturday before did the usual honoring of the ancestors – cleaning the graves, planting geraniums and then a toast and some spilling of some strong liquor – Dutch old genever this time instead of Vodka. We want to create some variety in their afterlife. And as usual the elder Axel and his wife Alice (Axel’s grandparents who I only know from stories) would disapprove, teetotalers as they were. Diane whose house adjoins the cemetery joined us, also as usual, for part of the proceedings and regaled us with stories about some of the people resting alongside Axel’s ancestors who have become mine too, by marriage.

Memorial Day itself is all about rituals as well. The dropping of flowers in the ocean, the march to the cemetery, the speeches and recitings, the taps, the roll call, the high school band and the greetings of people whose names I forget every year. Everyone knows Axel and he knows everyone. He is a local kid and it shows.

The minister gave a nice speech full of metaphors that resonated with me, such as kindling embers. I can’t remember the context but the imagery was wonderful.

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