Earlier this week, as I always do this time of year, I made a trip out to the Worthington Cemetery to place flowers on the graves of loved ones in advance of Memorial Day.
I know that the fake flowers stand up better to the elements, but my personal preference is for the real thing, so I always pot up a few containers in memory of my grandparents, parents, father-in-law and also dear family friends who were like secondary parents for me and my siblings. Their children don’t live in the vicinity, so I try to make sure they are remembered at this time of year.
I don’t exactly have a fondness for cemeteries, but I also don’t find them to be scary places, either. Quite the contrary. I think the cemetery can be quite serene, a place for reflecting on the lives of those I love.
Because of my mother’s longstanding connection to the Daily Globe, I often find myself writing about her here, and continuing the tradition of sharing recipes she maintained for so long in her MIxing & Musing column. But this week, with that visit to the cemetery, my thoughts turned more toward my dad — Don — aka Daddon.
Just a month before Daddon died — very suddenly in 1996 — we were out at the cemetery burying his mother, my Grandma Alice. Yes, mother and son died within about a month of each other. Alice was in her late 90s; Daddon in his 70s. With his own children and my cousins all present at the cemetery that day, Daddon took the opportunity to point out the available spaces left in the family plot long ago acquired by his parents. Little did we know that such a short time later he would be using one of those spaces.
This weekend, while all deceased loved ones are remembered, we especially honor those who have served our country — the veterans. My dad was not a military veteran; he was not eligible for service because of the birthmark on his face. But since he was a young man in the World War II era, Daddon was determined to serve in whatever way he could, so he first signed on to work on a fireboat in the Great Lakes and later worked in an aircraft factory in California. He may not have worn a U.S. military uniform, but Daddon did his part for the war effort. It wasn’t something he talked about much, though. In fact, I didn’t know about the fire boat stint until we were writing up his obituary.
So this weekend, in the midst of the Memorial Day observances, I will take a few moments and salute the deceased veterans, including my Grandpa Harry, who served in World War I; and my father-in-law, Bob, who was in both the U.S. Army and National Guard. But I will also count my dad among those ranks. Daddon may not have a flag and veteran star on his grave, but he served both his country and community in so many other ways.