Yesterday, the day before Memorial Day, I needed to step away from the norm, you know. I told my hubby, Jake, I was going out and he offered to chauffeur me. ßAww. So sweet of him. Heck, yeah, I took him up on that offer. We sat in the car and buckled up. He roared the engine to life.
“Okay. Where are we going?” He looked at me.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know.”
He pulled out of the driveway and drove out of our subdivision. When he got to the main road, he asked again, “Where do you want to go?”
My answer didn’t change from the first time. We pulled up to a red light.
“Quick, which way do we go. Come on, quick.”
I don’t do well under pressure. I had no real destination in mind when I announced I was leaving the house. I just wanted to get away. Do you have those kind of days?
“You said yesterday about going to Laurel Valley. Do you want to go there?” he asked.
I nodded. Finally, a destination and it was a good one. Laurel Valley is a really old farm from the 1800s. The slave quarters and old farm equipment along with the secrets the trees keep from us still reside there. It makes for beautiful pictures, a place where nature and your inner thoughts are the only sounds you’ll hear.
It was about a twenty minute drive from my house. Not far. Along the way, I remembered something that happened Friday night when we went to the bookstore.
Two groups of teenagers stopped in front of us. They gave each other hugs and casual hellos. One teen announced, “I need to get a Ouji board to bring with us to St. Mary’s cemetery.” Obviously, they were going to do some bad juju stuff. I love scary stuff and rarely get truly scared of horror movies, but that kind of stuff freaks me out. And I mean FREAKS me out to where I won’t sleep for days.
Jake and I figured it must be a creepy cemetery. One thing we could tell for sure was that it was an above-ground-tomb cemetery.
I looked over at Jake. “Hey, remember that cemetery those kids were talking about the other night?”
“St. Mary’s? Yeah.”
“Do you know where it is?” I’m from New Orleans and still only know major roads and landmarks in Houma. The surrounding areas of Houma. Forget about it. I don’t know anything. And that’s where this was. But Jake grew up in one of these surrounding areas.
“Yeah. It’s on the way. Just on the other side of the baya(Cajun slang for bayou.).”
“Let’s go there.”
“I like looking at the tombs and stuff like the ones in the city(New Orleans).”
In comparison to the New Orleans cemeteries, it just didn’t compare. However, we realized a new purpose for going there. Not long after reading a few tombs, we noticed U.S. flags near certain graves. We quickly put the clues together and realized those were people who served in wars. We walked around for a few hours in the Southern La heat we are famous for. I wouldn’t have traded those hours for anything though.
We read every last plaque of the veterans and discovered their ranking, their military branch, and which war they fought in, if they did. We saw some from World War I.
So many from World War II, which really surprised us because this cemetery was in a small city that must have been three times smaller during WWII, and a few that had died in WWII.
|Fought and died in WWII|
Then, we saw some who had fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, militia lifers.
It was amazing. I felt humbled by the service these men put forth in protecting our country. Without these men, I can’t imagine how different our lives would be today.
Every now and then, we would see a grave for a young child and either my hand or Jake’s would reach out for the other as we gave a moment of silence. Even though we dedicated our trip to seeing the military graves, it didn’t stop us from seeing a few really cool tombs.
All in all, we have decided to make this a tradition for Memorial Day. Although it is the beginning of summer and a great time to barbecue and be surrounded by family and friends, we need to remember why we have the simple luxuries and that someone fought with his life to give that to us. Next time, I’ll bring flowers.
Lots of <3,