ENID, Okla. —
Tomorrow is Memorial Day or ‘Decoration Day,’ as my Granny always called it. A time when families come together to decorate the graves of loved ones gone on before them, and a time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – our solders.
My little Granny was born on the Fourth of July, so we were privileged to celebrate family and country twice a year.
Campers would begin to roll in on Friday evening, hoping for that ‘choice’ location. There was plenty of room in Granny’s yard, but the most level parts of the yard were first-come, first-served. So the race was on. By Saturday evening, Granny’s yard looked like a camp ground right out of the pages of “Grapes of Wrath.” But it always was exciting to see them arrive.
Granny gave birth to 13 kids and raised two grandsons, so privacy was something of a novelty, especially at reunions and holidays.
The womenfolk pretty much stayed in the kitchen, where coffee and sweet tea was the drink of choice. I can still smell the aroma of fresh homemade bread and fried scones, beans and hamhocks with cornbread, blackberry cobbler made with fresh-picked blackberries from out behind my Granny’s house, and oh that fried chicken, the best in the world. All of this, and so much more, was prepared amidst lots of laughter and tales from yesteryear.
Meanwhile, the men were outside with their drink of choice, telling fish stories and catching up, while the kids, like flies, were everywhere ... into everything. What fun we had.
I can’t help but smile as memories flood my thoughts, some of which I dare not share. If nothing else, there was always laughter in my family, lots of laughter and we love to eat.
Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken,” and Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
How about Proverbs 12:25?: “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad.”
Memorial Day isn’t only about decorating the graves of our loved ones, but about the living, as well. It’s about campers in the yard, good food, great memories and permitting laughter to do its job. Heal a broken heart, make a heart glad and make a cheerful countenance.
For the most part, Memorial Day is about remembering and celebrating our soldiers, the living and the dead, for their bravery and courage — giving honor where honor is due.
In 1999, a lady by the name of Sylvia Mohr bought carnations and walked through the section for soldiers at her nearby cemetery, placing flowers on the graves of fallen heroes.
She would pause a moment and say a prayer for the family of that person and for our country.
In the southwest section of Enid Cemetery, stands a headstone that reads:
Robert M. Blair
Medal of Honor BM
Boatswain’s Mate Robert M. Blair served on the U.S.S. Pontoosuc during the capture of Fort Fisher and Wilmington from Dec. 24, 1864-Jan. 22, 1865, carrying out his duties faithfully throughout this period.
Blair received the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry and skill and for his cool courage while under fire of the enemy during these two assaults in January 1865. He will not be forgotten.
My late husband, Russel Sorrels, and both my parents have made that heavenly flight home. I miss them greatly. So, in remembrance of them, I will lay a carnation on the grave of Robert M. Blair and thank God for his bravery and service to our America, and I will pray God’s richest blessing over his family.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day, my friends, and take an extra carnation to the cemetery, just in case you see a fallen hero with no flowers on their grave.
Say a little prayer for their family and thank God for the freedom — our freedom — they fought and died for. We will not forget!
Keep the Faith and worship somewhere today.
Sorrels is News & Eagle editorial assistant and can be reached at email@example.com or at (580) 548-8140.