By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
The rain awakened me this morning. The loud “plunk, plunk, plunk” of fat raindrops on the patio furniture refused to abate so I could further indulge my drowsiness. Once again I had slept through the clock radio blathering of NPR informing me of tragic events, violent acts, and other random tales from around the world. I rouse myself out of bed to escape hearing about the latest act of depravity
Yesterday we had mulled over attending the annual Memorial Day parade in our town. It’s a humdinger of a parade: Colorful and lively with our hometown high school band playing joyously as we cheer and applaud along the parade route. It reminds me of The Music Man. Yet on this soggy Memorial Day morn, the parade will not materialize. As a former band member myself, I understood how much effort went into the parade, and how local folks counted on the parade. I felt a twinge of sadness as Mother Nature put the kibosh on today’s festivities.
The day before we had decorated my parents’ monument. The Veterans had already placed a U.S. flag next to my father’s name. Shortly after my father’s death seven years ago, the Veterans fastened a large plaque to the back of the pale pink marble headstone acknowledging his military service during World War II. The monument was installed twelve years ago after my mother’s sudden death.
The sedum I had planted several years ago and the sedum I planted last autumn with my Houston friends Juliet and her husband Mark, himself a Veteran, looked strong and vibrant. The grossly overgrown shrub that Mark had furiously whittled into a tall narrower shape exuded renewed health. Now we hung two small hanging baskets of cheery red geraniums onto the ornate trellis next to the headstone. We brushed off grass clippings the caretaker’s lawn mower had tossed onto the foundation. We picked up bits of Nature’s debris scattered around the site – twigs, weeds, and leaves. We performed the same acts for my late uncles’ monuments next to my parents’.
On Decoration Day, as it used to be called, my father used to tend the graves of his in-laws, and that of the grandfather-in-law he never knew, but who, like my father, was an Italian immigrant. A profusion of red, white, and pink impatiens annuals carpeted the grounds of our departed. My father nurtured the sandy soil, treating it regularly to prod it into growth. His was the green thumb of the quintessential Italian gardener. My own genetic makeup lacks the green thumb gene; consequently, I plant perennials instead.
At least there are bright red geraniums and glossy green sedum, an American flag, and a perimeter swept clean surrounding my parents’ monument. Thus on this overcast Memorial Day, come rain or shine, I laud our Veterans and the work they do. Thank you.
Ciao for now.