Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Trip

My mom has deep roots in this part of Oregon, and by extension, so do I. She can trace relatives back to pioneer days who lived around here. When I was a kid we went every Memorial Day weekend on a day long trip to visit 3 (later 4) cemetaries and put flowers on graves. For most of these relatives, my mom is the only one who still visits and puts flowers on their graves.

I have fond memories of this annual excursion. We would get hot chocolates and pastries, sing in the car, run around at the less crowded/modern cemetaries, eat a picnic lunch and stop at this little tiny store to buy penny candy. Honore and I would each get a dollar or two and we would spend probably half an hour deciding what we were going to buy with that money. After we went to college, the trips got more sparse - my parents still did it and Honore and I tagged along when we were in town. Once I moved back we did it a few times until we had kids and then we missed a few years because it does involve about 4 or 5 hours in the car and you can't really give a baby penny candy. This year we loaded my parents and the kids up in the mini-van and went.

First stop: Veteran's cemetery in Portland. This is the new one (well, new since high school) as both my grandparents (my mom's parents) are buried here.

Second stop:  Starbucks. Peter puts my keys in the glove box unbeknownst to me which will later lead to the kids and I being stuck at home for an entire shift tomorrow since my keys will be locked in the car while he is at work. We will argue on the phone about it. I will tell the kids I am mad at Daddy. Then we will have to make nice in front of them as well. However, all I know right now is that I am getting a latte.

Third Stop: Masonic pioneer cemetery (pictured above). My great great something died at the age of 38 in 1888 and her child at the age of 1. They are both buried up here. This is my favorite cemetery ever. I want to be buried here. It's on top of a quiet hill over looking the Columbia River. The grass is long because no one visits it, although they usually cut it every Memorial Day. This year they only cut around a few grave stones and left the rest wild. It is quiet, wild, peaceful and beautiful up there.

Fourth Stop: Lunch. We used to picnic but since we decided yesterday to take the trip, my parents are still suffering from jet lag, and Peter and I are sick we bagged the picnic and ate at a restaurant. A restaurant called Humps in Clatskanie (I'm not kidding about the name). The food was exactly as you would expect it to be - greasy, tasty, and a waitress who called you hon. The restaurant also has a store where they sell clothes and other tourist trinkets. Posed at random points around the restaurants are mannequins wearing the clothes for sale. Something about mannequins creeps me out. Miss E kept pointing to a "person" and asking me "is that person real?" and more than once I had to tell her no.

Fifth stop: Clatskanie cemetary. We have 8 relatives buried here, including a few of my great aunts and uncles. It is a huge flat cemetery and the kids ran up and down in the grass (being careful not to step on the headstones) and picked up any flowers that had fallen over on gravestones and set them upright.

Sixth stop: Dairy Queen. Yes, I know, the healthiness of the food is blowing you away. But I have to say, Mr. T was SO EXCITED about his milkshake that he was practically jumping out of his skin. He proudly pointed to the picture on the menu that he wanted and then wrung his hands and giggled until it was served.

And that was pretty much it. We skipped the Mayger cemetery this year because she knew other relatives would be visiting and we were all tired. Next year we will make it up there. I have never remembered this trip as a sad trip even though we are visiting cemeteries. I have memories of it being a fun family day and I hope my kids do as well.

*Spain posts are done! They are the ones dated May 3-16

1 comment:

  1. How can they help but have fond memories? Rand 'n I loved this post--even WE now have fond memories of your great memorial times. Delightful. INCLUDING the keys 'n junk food! :) <3