The wind caused a dirt blizzard as my sister and I drove with her big dog and a car full of garage sale treasures on our annual pilgrimage to Gaylord. We make the trek every May to put flowers on our parents’ grave before Memorial Day.

The older section of the cemetery has ornate gravestones, many noting something about the life of the deceased or of those who grieved or where/how the soul is spending eternity. When we were children, we prowled that area reading and speculating about those long-dead members of our church. I recall finding many graves from an early 20th century influenza epidemic. Many of those were of children, the stones with cherubs, sometimes photographs, always sad to us who really had no concept of death.

The newer part has the graves of many we knew, a beloved band director, a neighbor, friends of our parents who became part of our lives in that small town. The wind whipped things out of our hands, creating bizarre hair tangles, Though it delighted my sister’s dog who romped among the stones, we didn’t stay long for quiet contemplation.

Part of our yearly visit always involves driving by our home. New owners have made slight changes, but they have maintained its integrity and its dignity by careful tending. I always smile to see the A atop the chimney. For a while at least the house bears our name among long-time residents. The A helps them remember.

Before heading back to the cities we stopped for coffee at a bakery/cafe on the edge of downtown. We chuckled as we entered because the same 4 men were sitting in the same corner of that place, probably telling the same stories. We’ll see them again next May.