05 July 2013

1 country


'in the country, they do that, you know,' debo says. she's talking about putting flowers on graves.

i remember being struck by this when we went to my grandfather's grave on the day he was buried. by how every single grave had something on it.

but actually, more than that, she's talking about the art of constructing floral arrangements out of silk flowers and the southern country practice of minding a grave.

burvil is going about the business of minding the grave. to that end, she and her sister are getting together today to work on arrangements to take to the cemetery.

hold that thought...

debo recently went to stay with burvil in mississippi for a few days. they fixed the hinges on the cabinets, drilled holes in the tree stumps, and used a metal detector in the yard just for kicks. 

for some reason, when my parents go to the farm, it gets very beverly hillbillies. i mean, try to imagine burvil and debo wandering around with a metal detector for no real reason. ridic, non?

another example: debo and burvil went to the cemetery to install the new plaque that the military sent for my grandfather's grave. 

(debo posted a picture on facebook and the whole world sallied forth to say what a lovely, moving tribute she had made for her dad. she looked at me in bemusement over skype last night, marveling, 'clearly they do not know that this is something the military gives you for free...') 

as they left the cemetery, my mother went to throw something away and happened upon a whole heap of floral arrangements in the dumpster. as she relayed this story to me, she said, 'and we know those cost $69.95 each!' (the advantage of recent bereavement is a precise knowledge of floral costs.) 

the flowers had likely decorated the grave of a recently deceased woman, as there's a preponderance of pink. upon her death, they had been sent to the cemetery. upon her funeral, they had been sent to the church. and then, upon her burial, they had been piled upon the grave. and then, with the passage of a week or so, they had been thrown away. all of them. even the silk ones. 

in my family, that is a no-no. the very day joe was buried, in the late afternoon when we all stumbled up to the cemetery half-stunned, our eyes dilated like people emerging from dark into light, burvil deputized us grandkids to sift through the heap of arrangements and remove the silks for use later. a child of the depression, she cannot bear waste. 

looking on this dumpster's worth of silk flowers, my mother, aware of burvil's abhorrence of wastefulness and the fact that her rather paltry silk flower collection which wasn't going to stretch anywhere close to decking out all our family graves, she saw a bounty. 

debo called burvil over. she asked burvil. burvil said ok. and then, together, my 60-year-old mother and her 84-year-old mother dumpster-dove floral arrangements from a cemetery in order to make home-made wreaths. 

it is a sign of how country i am that this story makes me so proud.

1 comment:

Linda said...

That. Is. Marvelous.