Memories and Metal Pots

By Keith Fisher

Several years ago, our government set aside one day a year, specifically designed to remember those who died in the service to their country. Since then, Memorial Day has evolved into so much more.

Now, it’s a day to remember all our loved ones who’ve passed away. It’s a day off from work, a three-day weekend. The first real warm day to get outside.

In my family, we used to set aside part of the weekend to visit all the dead ancestors and place flowers on their grave. When my Grandfather died, my mother inherited his list. Grandpa visited every grave he knew about and since he raised peonies to sell, he gave the extras to his ancestors and placed color on their graves.

A few years ago, we started a tradition in my father’s family. After placing flowers on Grandpa’s grave, We’d go to the family home and visit. A picnic would ensue on Grandma’s front lawn. There were times over the years, when camping and fishing were the order of the day, and vacations were sometimes planned during that time, but we always migrated back to family members and the comforting feeling of being connected.

This year will be different for me. It’s the first Memorial Day since my father died. His headstone has been placed, waiting for the onslaught of those who miss him. I took a picture last year of Mom and Dad at his father’s grave. Who knew that we would be visiting him this year?

I’ve witnessed some interesting traditions practiced in cemeteries over the years including big family picnics on the grave. I’ve seen "super sized" fast food left on graves. Candy, letters, pictures, and solar walkway lights. The latter gave me cause to wonder for awhile when I passed the cemetery on the way home from my writers critique group.

I stopped one day, and discovered the lights. What a great idea, I thought. It was a nightlight in case the deceased woke in the middle of the night in unfamiliar surroundings. I guess it could be interpreted as an eternal flame?

Whatever your tradition, make your front yard the one everyone stops at. Start cooking in the morning. If you get the word out, they will show up, and you will be the host of a great party. Everyone will remember those who have passed. And they will remember you for the great food you cooked.

By the way, you’re invited to come to the Camp Chef DOG (Dutch oven gathering) It’s a pot luck party so come and cook something. June 6, at the Campchef plant in Logan, Utah. Address and more info to follow.