Friday, May 7, 2021

Decoration Day in the Old South

 Cemeteries in the south have a 'Decoration Day', held not always on the same Sunday. The cemetery where my Mom and Dad are buried, (also my brother, infant son and lots of relatives) chose the 2nd Sunday in May for the day to decorate the graves. 

In years past, Decoration Day was a big deal, probably the most anticipated day all year except for Christmas. You bought new clothes, you got all dressed up, everyone was at the cemetery. Church would be held in the morning, baskets full of fried chicken, green beans, potato salad, chicken dumplings, etc, etc, etc. was spread out on a large table under the trees and you just helped yourself. The afternoon was spent with singing hymns. It was a grand time.

Now, all of that is gone except for the people who go (whenever they have time), place flowers on the graves and leave. A part of the old South is gone.

My son and I bought flowers and on Wednesday we drove from his home about 60 miles from the cemetery to where our loved ones are buried. We decorated the tombs, walked around a bit, looking at old tombs, being surprised at brand new graves. 

I just got this huge lump in my middle. I now live nearly 800 miles away. I am getting on up there in age. This would probably be the last trip I could make to pay my respects. My Dad was killed by lightning just before I was born. I never knew him but the ache of loss has always been with me. My Mom, the woman who struggled during the depression to make sure me and my older sister had a good life. My baby son, born into this world with problems he could not overcome. They were all here.. in this ground, their tombs marking the sites. I wouldn't see that again... It was an emotional moment for me.  


  1. I'm so sorry for your losses.
    We're far from my mother and father's gravesite, 500km. I'm loathe to leave things there, what with winds and storms.

  2. It was good you decided to make that trip home with your son. It gave you the chance to visit those gravesites and pay your respects. I don't know when I"ll ever be back to Strasburg, PA to visit my parents, paternal grand parents and ancestors' graves.

  3. Such tender losses and beloved family. I am glad that your son was with you to honor these dear ones. I felt similarly about visiting my grandparents' graves last autumn. Who knows when and if I shall be able to visit again.

  4. It is a shame that decoration day has fallen
    Aside. It is a lovely tradition and that kept the generations connected.
    How lovely your son took you to visit.

  5. Decoration Day sounds wonderful. I'm sorry it's gone. And I'm sorry for the many losses you've had in your life. This was a beautiful tribute.

  6. This is a beautiful post on so many levels. As for Decoration Day, it sounds like a glorious holiday.

  7. I grew up going to Decoration Days at several cemeteries. Today I'm driving back to my hometown to visit my Uncle and go to decoration; it's still a tradition in this part of Tennessee.

  8. This makes me think of the maintenance of cemeteries. The decision of where interment occurs requires some thought with visitation being one of them. There's so much history in a graveyard.

  9. I am happy that you were able to visit these special places and leave flowers! I am SO sorry for the losses of your family members. I also visit my Parent's graves and decorate. Have a blessed day and week ahead. I know you are enjoying your time with your Son. HUGS!


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