Cemetery visits. Conveniently, White Haven cemetery is across from the Powers Market where red, white and blue carnations are for sale along with three different sizes of the American flag-on-a-balsam stick, suitable for grave sites.
I choose the large size flag and find a plastic bouquet of flowers. Not the patriotic carnations. As a silent nod to my grandmother, I pick the bunch that has colors she would have liked. Purple, green and white.
Powers Market is a busy place this morning. Families with toddlers in tow are picking up plants. An older man, standing in line at the register, is leaning down to a young boy who’s also in line.
“Do you know why there are 50 stars on that flag?”
As the boy looks up, the gentleman delivers a lesson in flag symbolism as the boy’s parents stand nearby and listen.
Heading over to the cemetery, we find my grandparents’ graves, dig up the metal cylinder shaped tube, flip it, slide it back into the ground, then put the flag and the flowers inside of it.
While I’m silently talking with my grandparents, a graveside service is about to start just a few rows away from where I’m kneeling. On the lawn, across the road, three women hover over a green space, trimming stems and arranging flowers.
The sky is a cloudless robin’s egg blue. There’s a stiff breeze that catches the cloth of the American flags that have been planted curbside throughout the cemetery.
Each in our own way, we show up to remember during the long weekend when America pulls out all the stops. When we hold grief in our hands and measure the passing of years by the bronze dates on memorial plaques.