When I was a little girl there was a poem about The Merry Month of May. I can’t remember the words. I only know as I got older it became The Busy Month of May. I don’t know why but that seemed to be the time of the year for house cleaning. Spring House Cleaning was when everything was cleaned. Windows washed, Curtains washed, bedding hung on the clothes line. The mattress was turned, sheets replaced the cotton blankets that been on the beds all winter. As our sheets were made out of white feed sacks I was grown before I realized all sheets didn’t come with seams down the middle as well as across the middle. I thought all sheets were made from four pieces. I remember the late Johnnie Bell hanging their wool rugs on the clothes line and beating them with a rug beater. We didn’t have such things as wool rugs at our house. One time Mama had washed all her quilts. Quilts washed on a rubboard and hung on the line to dry. She had placed all the quilts on a bed when they were dry. It seems that a cat chose to use the clean quilts for its “daily do”. Mama grabbed the nearest thing, which was a ball bat. “Nuff said!” After a day of washing quilts by hand I am sure I would have just sat down and cried.
May is also the month for decoration at the cemeteries. Decoration Day used to be an important day. People came from far and wide (miles away) for decoration. Decoration day usually meant a big dinner. Dinner on the ground as it was called. There was the church service first. After the service the women began unloading their wagons or cars the food they had brought to share. The long wooden tables would be loaded with each woman making her best recipe for the occasion. In the later years of her life I took Mama to the Homecoming and Decoration at the Piney Cemetery, north of Mulberry, where many of her kin are buried. The church service was held in an open air pavilion. The benches were homemade and I think a pastor from all the churches around preached their Sunday service. At least that was the way it felt. A wooden bench can get mighty uncomfortable after a few hours. After the big meal it was time to visit all the kinfolks graves.
The last time I visited the Piney Cemetery I made the trip with my late brother Carl. He called and asked me to go with him telling me what he wanted me to fix for our lunch. Among the things he wanted was deviled eggs. I thought he wanted me to take him, but his idea was to take me. We went over hill and dale and through the woods, and the road less traveled.. He wanted to show me where Mama was born. That road was indeed “The road less traveled.” He got us to the Cemetery but decided he didn’t want to stay for church or lunch as he wanted to have a picnic in the yard of our Great-Aunt Daisy Bruce. Although Aunt Daisy had been gone for years the house was still standing. We spread our lunch on the hood of the car. He took me to where our Great-Grandparents had lived. I got to see the rock fence my Great-Grandfather Bruce had built over a hundred years before. It was still standing as if it had just been built. Carl seemed so pleased to show me where so many of our ancestors had lived. On the way home Carl drove, as kids we used to say, “Ninety-ought nothing” grinning all the way home. It made me so happy to see him so happy for you see Carl was entering that cruel, cruel, world of Alzheimer’s