Memorial Day Memories

        When I was a kid, we’d go to my grandmother’s church for Memorial Day Sunday every year.

         It was a little country church, and there was no air conditioning.  They had these hand held fans with a picture of Jesus and an advertisement for the funeral home on one side and the football team schedule on the other.

        After the service, there was dinner on the grounds.  A long table was set up outside and the table cloth would blow in the breeze.  I couldn’t wait for the prayer to end to get at it.

        We’d have fried chicken and pickled peaches, mac and cheese and deviled eggs; it was great stuff.  There were all kinda desserts and all the little old ladies with funny hats would come up and ask if you’d tried their cobbler.  I was glad to make ’em all happy and have one of each.

        After church we’d play nine holes of golf with my Dad and uncles.  One time Uncle Dan the farmer went and watched me tee up.  He observed with intent then said, “Boy hand me one of them stobs (a tee) and let me try.”

        One time he played with my set and lost the seven iron, but he went down to Firestone’s and replaced it right away.  I was the only kid in town with a full set of Wilson Arnold Palmer clubs and a Sam Snead Blue Ridge 7-iron.  I still have ’em and cut ’em down years ago for my son to get started with.  (We didn’t know they made special clubs for kids, but he turned out to be a fine player anyway.)

        I saw where Ms. Susan shared some Memorial Day memories and asked folks to share theirs.  (She is on my blogroll)  I too would interested to know how folks around the country celebrate, so drop me a comment if you can, and visit her too- it was her idea first.

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: Holidays

22 Comments on “Memorial Day Memories”

  1. mrschili Says:

    We don’t have any particular Memorial Day memories. We go to the next town over, the one Mr. Chili grew up in, to watch the 100-yard parade (hey, it’s small-town New England, what can I tell ya?) but that’s about it.

    Memorial Day weekend is the traditional pool-opening date, though it’s still too chilly, in my opinion, to be dipping oneself in water (it’s not been consistently above 70 around here yet….). When I was a girl, my father would have the pool ready by the holiday Monday, and all the public and health club pools are either opening this weekend or will be open by next weekend.

    I’m going to be spending at least PART of my weekend grading. I owe my students some feedback on their visual aid speeches.

  2. drtombibey Says:


    One night I went to a mandolin seminar with a buddy who is the High School Band director.

    We were on the way home, and about ten o’clock his cell phone went off. I could only hear his part of the conversation, but it was a student who had a scholarship audition the next morning. Jim said, “Now son, you’re gonna be fine. You know your piece, just relax and be yourself, etc.”

    I hope the kid got the scholarship. Teachers, like Docs, often have holiday memories about who they serve, huh?

    Sometimes I wonder what my teachers did behind the scenes for me I never knew about. So thanks for your Memorial Day memory- I enjoyed it.

    Dr. B

  3. Susan Shay Says:

    I have one memory from when I was just little–maybe 3 or 4. We lived with my grandparents at that time in a small town not far from where I live now.
    That Memorial Day we all went to the Basin Cemetery (the Basin is where my great-grandad got his 160 in the land run) where we mowed, clipped and cleaned the graves. It was hot and boring for a four year old. They wouldn’t let me do anything but pick up sticks and put them in a pile. I wanted to use something with an edge to it.
    The Basin Cemetery is gone now. (They moved it when the lake came in.) And cemeteries have perpetual care–someone else does the mowing, clipping, etc. But we still take our brooms along to sweep off the stones. No one can do it like family.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Susan,

    Family is indeed the ticket. Great Memorial Day story- thanks for sharing.

    Dr. B

  5. newt221 Says:

    We did not have a special thing per se at our church. We did sing patriotic hymns for the holiday.

    I can sure relate to the throwdown at the church. From family reunions and church functions, I can say that our church and the ladies in it provided some of the best food put on a plate. There was never enough room on the plate nor enough space in my stomach to try everything I wanted. And, the smells! Well need I say, you would have to hold us kids back until everything had been reheated. Some of my favorite times.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Hey, thanks for the visit.

    Family reunions, covered dish suppers, and church- tis hard to beat. Like you, I can sniff out those suppers a mile away. I start to salivate before the preacher can finish the sermon.

    Some of the best gigs I ever played with my bluegrass band were in that exact setting. I’d come away feeling like I had been welcomed into the family’s inner circle when invited to those kind of events.

    Dr. B

  7. Cindy Carter Says:

    I know what you mean. And, if you did not have religion before you went to the covered dish, you sure had it afterward.

    Of course, at our family reunions, held at the church, the “men”, who were old bootleggers and rumrunners from way back, would make two different batches of lemonaide in wash tubs, one for the kids and one for the adults.

  8. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Memorial Day is a hard one for me, especially this year with all the senselessly dead American military personnel. Frank Rich wrote a wonderful column in today’s New York Times which I commend to all Dr. B’s readers. Here’s a link:

    As with so many other great American holidays, it seems to me we’ve cheapened their observance by attaching them to a weekend. I’d rather have the traditional days and actually be placed in a position where we think about the importance of the day rather than have it attached to a big sale, a feast, or a chance to travel, not that we can afford as much of that as usual. Sorry for the rant. – Ted

  9. Thanks for sharing your Memorial Day memories (called Decoration Day and celebrated May 30 in my childhood). Also thanks for stopping by my Quilting and Patchwork blog to comment on my Memorial Day post. I’ve enjoyed the other memories and day-to-day happenings here at your blog.

  10. president of Neuse River fan club in Mississippi Says:

    The place that you described, I will be at next week. A little white church east of town, out in the country where alot of my kin folks are buried and the graves are taken care of by a particular family for many years. The family will gather and a preacher will bring that wonderful memorial sermon. The one that I remember from several years ago was a sermon about Jacob’s Well and how many people it had provided refreshement for over the years. He went on to say that this place had taken care of folks. The remarks you made in your article about the church are all true to this place. I know someone needs to comment about how the wasp ag-gre-vates all the people inside and every once in a while will get it’s bell rung by the slow turning fan. A standing rule is to never wear a good shirt.By the end of the service, you will have varnish where your back had sweated in the pew. We all will go to pay respect to the family. Dad said the other day that he had not missed one since he was six years aold and now he is early seventies.

  11. fictionhabitat Says:

    Unique style of writing 🙂 You have got me hooked to your blog, Dr. Tom Bibey even though today is my second day on WordPress!

    Nice, sweet post this is 🙂 Brings me back the memories of my sweetly – happily times. Thanks!


  12. drtombibey Says:

    Lord, Lord Ms. Cindy I believe I’m gonna learn a lot from your comments!

    Dr. B

  13. drtombibey Says:


    Thanks for the link. We should never forgot those folks for sure. My Uncle died in WWII and all I know of him is what they tell me and to go by see his name on the monument when we play on the Court Square.

    I hope some day we humans will be ingenious enough to figure out a way to solve our differences without wars.

    Dr. B

  14. drtombibey Says:


    When I come down there those are the kinda places I want to see, and I want to play that Hee-Haw show, too. And eat some of them catfish, and…..

    Soutnern life is all right, huh?

    Dr. B

  15. drtombibey Says:

    Hey fictionhabitat,

    I’ve got the fiction bug too. Thanks for visiting and come back. I try to post at least twice a week, sometimes three. Working on a book, too.

    Dr. B

  16. drtombibey Says:

    Mary Emma,

    Keep on a quilting. My wife does that too. Like traditional music, it does not need to be a lost art.

    Bill Monroe did a song about Decoration Day in Heaven. I need to go look it up – haven’t heard it in a while.

    Dr. B

  17. secretwave101 Says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blah, blah, blahg the other day. Thought I’d come check out your shop to return the favor.

    I quite enjoy the stories. I like how short you keep everything. If I could just shut up, I suppose I could post more frequently, like you.

    I have no memories of Memorial Day. My kids asked me what the holiday was about yesterday and I said, “I have no idea. I guess it’s for barbecuing.”

    Then I figured it would be lame to let my answer hang out there like that, so I did some reading on it and found that it used to be quite solemn and stately. I read a great Op-Ed in the NYTimes on the subject which made the point that the day became meaningless as soon as it was turned into a national holiday (I casually mentioned this as I flipped burgers in the backyard).

    Anyway, I amended my first answer today. I told them about the Civil War – that by today’s per capita more than 5 million people died in that war alone – and how lots of people died defending our country. I mentioned that once upon a time, people put beautiful flowers on dead soldiers’ graves to thank them for their sacrifice, even if they didn’t know who that soldier was. Next year, with some planning, I intend to do just that. Then maybe they’ll have something to say when their kids ask them what this day’s about.

  18. drtombibey Says:

    secret wave,

    Thanks for dropping in.

    Every once in a while I’ll hear a sports annoucer say on T.V. some guy is “brave” for hitting a six iron over the water. I don’t get it.

    I think the guy who is brave is the skinny little fellow here in town who finished high school and served chow in Iraq to have a shot at college. He’s not into politics; he’s just trying to survive. I am thankful he came home O.K.

    Dr. B

  19. Cindy Carter Says:

    Now Dr. Tom,

    Don’t tell me that you are not familiar with what I am talking about! During prohibition, my own grandfather used to run the “booze” for the local “cat house” in our community. He was also a gentleman farmer. He just happened to have a cousin who was a moonshiner.

    I think a lot of us out there have colorful pasts. Most of us won’t admit it. I love to hear the family stories though.

  20. drtombibey Says:

    ms. Cindy,

    Like most women, you are perceptive. I ain’t never fooled my wife on nothing!

    Dr. B

  21. Cindy Carter Says:

    I get the best stories when I get the “old folks” started and watch and listen to what comes out. They get caught up in the stories and before you know it, something has slipped out that they didn’t necessarily mean to tell.

    I am toying with writing a book about my family’s escapades. That is why I started my blog to see if any of my stories were interesting to others. Of course my mother would “beat my butt” if she knew that I was sharing these stories. She is from the old school that doesn’t want others to know about our colorful southern past. “Well what will others think?” I think they get a good laugh and wonder if their families have stories too.

  22. drtombibey Says:


    I also like the idea of preserving all this. Spiritual immortality is number one for me, but I also like to believe we can have some earthly immortality too. Writing it down is the best way to do it I know of.

    Think of Mark Twain- it is like we still know him. Somehow the notion gives me some comfort.

    Dr. B

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