“The first Saturday of May,” that’s the day Rindahl cemetery sets aside for the landscaping, cleaning, painting, or whatever else the association has decided needs to be done to get the cemetery ready for the summer. By the end of the day the cemetery needs to be almost ready for Memorial Day.
This year I took a road trip from the Pacific coast to be back for the day. Even the weather was cooperating, with a bright clear day for doing the work.
Which was hardly enough to really justify. Amongst the headstones there was trimming of last year’s flower stalks, raking of leaves, and removing faded plastic and cloth flowers. Markers were checked for damage, and discussions about this and that in the way things were going.
There was a small tree-felling party, taking down a birch near the fence which was dry all the way through. And a little bit of trimming among the other trees, removing dead branches and so on, and collecting the debris and carting it down to make a pile for a bonfire at some point.
But of course a big part of it was the conversations. There weren’t a lot of people this year – most of us could remember when half the work done was putting together the picnic for so many willing hands. There were only 8 of us this year, but we still found time to share stories, talking about the past and the future, people we knew buried in the cemetery and those still in the world. We took a quick tour of the church and discussed the recent history of that as well.
The Rindahl cemetery association is still strong enough, financially, but is looking for new, younger people to become involved, and that vein of conversation was still holding the stage when I had to leave. An easy morning’s yard work, some shared memories, and I hope to see everyone next year too!