VALLEY MUSINGS: Extra pair of hands help with cemetery visits, putting in AC

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When my youngest sister came for Memorial Day weekend, we had a list of tasks we hoped to accomplish with an extra pair of hands to help.

“We have to remember to get the air conditioner in while she’s here,” my next-younger sister reminded me. She was also looking for help with a couple of chores at her house.

I suggested making a favorite dish that includes rice, ground beef, zucchini and stewed tomatoes.

We also wanted to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie. My sister suggested it would take less time if we bought a crust and I agreed. Considering the frustration I had experienced making my last pie crust — the rhubarb pie tasted quite good despite the pieced-together pastry - I was more than willing to take the easy way out.

I picked up groceries and we mowed the lawn on Thursday in preparation for the weekend.

Our youngest sister arrived about mid-afternoon on Friday and was pleased to see the alium, azalea and daisies blooming.

On Saturday morning we visited the farmers market and the co-op in Little Falls and then went on to check out a couple of greenhouses. We bought strawberries for our pie and pulled stalks of rhubarb from our plants. After doing some calculations on the amount of sugar and flour needed, we put together the pie and slid it into the oven. I stayed with the pie while the others went to do some chores at my next-younger sister’s house.

Later we put flowers into planters for the cemeteries and, on Sunday afternoon, drove to Frankfort to put a planter next to a family monument. After watering the plants, we went looking for other relatives who were buried there. We had planted two extra pots and figured we could leave them beside a couple of those graves.

“Burt the iceman is over there,” I said, pointing. That’s what I’ve called him since seeing an old photo of the man who was some sort of relative standing next to his ice wagon. “We’re not putting anything there; it’s too shady.”

There were giant pine trees guarding the graves in that area. Still, we walked over to brush the pine needles and grass off the markers so we could see the names.

We uncovered the name “Winifred” and I pointed out that she had reportedly owned the wooden rocking chair we called “Aunt Winnie’s chair.” My youngest sister had adopted it after buying her house.

“I have to take a picture,” she said.

We went on to leave a pot by the grave markers of relatives in a sunny section of the cemetery.

Then we went in search of the graves of Temmie and Maggie - Temperance and Margaret, actually - more relatives we’d never met. I have sometimes searched and searched for their markers, but this time one of my sisters spotted the stones almost right away and we left a planter there. 

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