I know Memorial Day is tomorrow but knew that tomorrow is a big day for me (at least in the morning). Memorial Day has deep traditions in my family. We always went to my mom's hometown for the day. Preparations always started the day or two before because of the amount of cooking mom would do. You'd think that we were the only ones bringing anything to the family gathering. Everyone had their specialties. Mom's was usually her homemade potato salad, homemade buns (dinner rolls) and the many desserts she would make. She used to make a huge Tupperware container of potato salad. Usually there was no salad left over. Her buns were a hit too. It's been almost 30 years since we last tasted her delicious food. A few of us in our family have inherited her cooking talent. My youngest brother probably has the best knack for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and also for "doctoring" food to make it taste better. This past winter he suggested sage for my chicken soup and from now on, sage will be in my chicken soup. It made a wonderful difference.
Most of the time, we would go to church on Sunday mornings and head out to the hometown. It wasn't until the later years that we went to church on Saturdays. The drive was an hour long. Don't think we all ever went at the same time because my brothers were older than my sister and I. I think that my two oldest brothers didn't ride in the car with us because they were so much older (maybe except when I was a baby). My memory of it is my parents and sister in the front seat with my two brothers and me in the back. It was always a fight over who got the window. Often because I would get car sick, I was able to have the window.
We always got there early so mom could put out flowers on the graves and then go help set up food. The rest of my aunt and uncle's kids and grandkids would come. Just before the Memorial service at the cemetery, we would all walk over. All of us kids got along. My uncle lived on a dump, really, it was a dump. So there was always things to explore. They lived on a hillside. Down below, way down below, was a river. My sister and I weren't allowed to go to the river. Funny thing was that we never tried either. My brothers and male cousins would all go exploring down by the river. Somehow everyone always made it back in time to eat. And eat we did! My aunt made the best baked beans. She also made delicious "chicken" which usually would have been peasant or rabbit. We were always told that it was chicken.
I think there was some card playing among the adults. It was a long day and by evening, we would pack up and head for home. Sleeping in the back seat with the windows down is something I'll never forget. Loved it when dad drove and we could sleep. The best sleep there ever was was when dad drove during thunderstorms and rain showers. I still enjoy that sleep and am grateful that my brother drives so that I can take a nap during those times when we are out and about.