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2021 and Beyond

The headline contained an unmistakable message: “Fauci warned U.S. won’t return back to ‘normality’ until late 2021.”

I went to school, graduated, have been socialized, and ergo know what this means. Better plan something else next year.

Maybe if Americans were more disciplined in our approach to the coronavirus pandemic we’d be doing better. Iowa is currently setting new daily records for number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Where there are so many hospitalizations for the disease, there will be deaths. Americans in 2020 aren’t disciplined so we’ll just let the virus ravage us. That’s a heck of a way to approach this situation.

I plan to make a serious effort to finish my autobiography in 2021. That should keep me close to home and virus free.

Thursday I visited my parents’ grave site at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Davenport. My sister joined me. The foot marker she ordered for Mother had arrived and was in position. It was similar to the government-issued one on Dad’s side of the plot. Mom’s hadn’t had the benefit of 50 years settling into the ground. They weren’t properly aligned so she will get someone out to fix it in the spring.

Now that I’ve reached a certain age, and am a survivor, spending time in the cemetery (above ground) is not bad. There were plenty of positive memories among the monuments. We searched for our maternal great grandparents’ graves and couldn’t find them. A number of family members are buried in close proximity and I couldn’t recall exactly where. While we looked, everywhere were people we knew in life. A grade school classmate, my high school guitar teacher, my dentist and physician, a friend whose monument proclaimed, “judge, philosopher, humorist.” There were neighbors and friends we’d forgotten until reminded by their last physical presence on earth. It’s more than tolerable being alive in a cemetery. It’s enjoyable.

The obelisk of Antoine LeClaire, a principal founder of the city, is prominent inside the entry to the cemetery. In 1832, at the end of the Black Hawk War, LeClaire was present at the peace treaty signing for which he interpreted. He also served as interpreter of Black Hawk’s autobiography, which remains in circulation. The church my grandmother attended in later life, and which eventually hosted her funeral Mass in 1991, was built on land that came from LeClaire.

Grandmother is buried in this cemetery too. I remember taking our daughter to her freshly dug grave after the memorial in the cemetery chapel. I explained what death meant in the practical terms of cemeteries. When I asked her about it years later, she didn’t remember. However, I do and maybe such memories are why I don’t mind exploring cemeteries.

The dead don’t worry about the coronavirus and that makes them different from the rest of us, at least for the next year or so.

3 replies on “2021 and Beyond”

Another year? I feel as if I’ve age five…
I am very comfortable at cemeteries. My siblings and I often went with my parents to tend to my grandparents’ plot. And we had another cemetery closer to our home where we often went to play. The wildflowers there, like lily of the valley, were gorgeous, and it was near the creek…

Liked by 1 person

Thanks for reading this post, Becky. I live in rural Iowa and small, old cemeteries are everywhere. Some of them are poorly maintained and those are where wildflowers are abundant. Our township has a pioneer cemetery. Cattle got in and knocked over the markers. It was a very long time before anyone tried to repair the damage, and when they did, the historical society couldn’t figure out which marker went with which grave. The first person who died in our township is buried there.

What I find surprising in a cemetery is the memories evoked by finding someone I knew in life that I haven’t thought about in decades.The memories seem as real as when the events happened.

Good luck surviving the pandemic. Our state has one of the worst infection rates in the country so I’m planning to do more writing next year and stick close to home.

Enjoy the weekend!

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