Family Cemetery Visit

There’s no photos this time because I didn’t remember to bring my camera. My dad and I drove up to our family cemetery in Sparta, Wisconsin. We’re related to about 75% of the people buried there, and it’s where I hope to be buried some day. (After being cremated, because rotting grosses me out.)

Every year we put up shepherds’ crooks and hang baskets of fake flowers off of them. We do this so the people mowing and weed whacking don’t have to worry about moving our flowers.

This year it was a little late due to the pandemic and my mom’s worsening hip. We took the flower supplies we had bought on sale last year, the old metal baskets, and a block of green foam of some sort, and we put together the baskets. There were four of them in all.

One for my grandfather Hakon. Yes, I named one of the main love interests in my Stillwater novel Hakon.

One for my hermit of an great uncle. Seriously, he died in 1973 and had never had running water or electricity in his tiny cabins. He made an article in the Wisconsin State Journal! For years, there were mysterious flowers set on his grave, and my family had all sorts of speculations since it wasn’t any of us. A lover? A wife? Children we didn’t know about? One of us saw the woman putting them there one year, and she explained that her loved one was buried next to him but had no gravestone and they couldn’t afford one. So, she set her bouquet on his gravestone to keep the mowers from destroying it.

I was all hoping for an illicit love affair, ya’ll. So bummed.

One for my Grammy, Grandpa Hap, and Hap’s first wife. He was a widower with three kids when he met my Grammy, and she gave him two more. She insisted on being buried six inches closer to him than his first wife, and we thought it was silly but did as she requested. I highly doubt anyone other than her thought this was important, but she asked for very little, so we did as she wished.

And one for my aunt, her cousin, and her cousin’s first wife. Her cousin took care of her after she had her stroke and just couldn’t stand being taken care of anymore by close family. He was good to her and kind to us, and we interred her there a few years ago, followed by him.

Four flower baskets, every year.

We went and picked them up on Friday and cleared grass off of a few tombstones.

Someday it will be me and my husband doing this alone.

But for now I have family I love and family I love to remember.

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