The true purpose of our trip, as it is every year, was flowers.
The cemetery is old, and many acres in size. This cemetery holds the spirits of Spanish explorers of which my wife is a descendant, and as such, her family has the honor of a large plot set aside for their eternal rest by the local Village government. Sweet Wife has lovingly informed me I shall rest here, too, when my time has expired. I think not but that's another story.
Now, allow me please, to explain this picture.
Many years ago, after my father-in-law's death, we made monthly visits to his grave. My wife, as you might expect, was in deep shock; her father after all. Each visit required fresh or artificial arraignments. With each removal of the last token of her love and remembrance the flowers were placed in the trash. I thought this a waste, yet never hesitated in my wife's wishes. It was, after all, a sad period in her life.
Then, Elizabeth came into my life. Her grave was located upon a rise just north of my father-in-laws stone. One cold sunny afternoon as I waited with Sweet Wife, discarded flowers in hand, I noticed Elizabeth's marker. Her grave is within a granite fenced plot. Her parents watch eternity alongside her. The lack of care and visitation was very obvious. For some reason this bothered me and so I walked over and without thought placed the flowers at her marker, flowers destined for the dump had new purpose.
I like to imagine her beautiful, perhaps with ringlets of brown hair and dark eyes with a constant smile of deeply red lips. I imagine her tall and well read, intelligent. Until those last few days of her life (Influenza, I'm sure) I like to imagine her happy with life.
I've placed flowers at her grave for the last twelve years. In all this time I've never witnessed evidence of other visits. It's possible her descendants have joined her. In any case, she'll not be forgotten as she's now my Elizabeth.
The cemetery, like I've said, his huge. Its filled with ancient trees and as its close to both river and ocean there is a constant breeze and the Spanish moss is thick and ever in movement. During summer's intense heat the sites deep shade is a relief and of course it chills under winter's winds. When we visit I always go walkabout.
Once, on one of my walkabout's I discovered a plot of graves all with the same appearance. Each marker engraved with the same date of death. A garden of nuns, sweet wives of God. All died of influenza. Ten all together. I always walk over and say hello. Ten plain little stone markers of simple sisterly names and dates gone now these many years and I'm sure each died while giving help to another sick soul.
Yesterday I walked down hill and paid my respects to the 1st Florida Infantry Battalion. These good men lost their lives in service to our country in the Spanish-American War.
The above picture: the graves of the 1st Florida. I never taken a count of the markers. There are many grouped in the shade of old palm trees.
We left the cemetery and made our way into the local village for seafood. It was a chilly day and Sweet Wife was ready to eat. I went along for the ride....
I love the way she waits...her hands almost always crossed in front, delicate like...
I have a silly habit, as I wait for my meal, of paper flower construction. I use the papers from the straws. I always make them as a gift to my wife. I know, silly but still she smiles. Once upon a time I'd make two.
We ducked into an antique market. I believe it was my friend, Sandy, that left a comment on my post of yesterday in which she mentioned I'd probably not find any camping gear (Coleman) in the local antique market. Sandy, this is for you. It's a World War Two pressure gas stove used by our men to cook their meals while on the battle front. Its dated 1944 and held a price of seventy-five dollars. I passed. But still...
Now, some random shots. Please be warned...I'm not a good or even close to fair photographer...so deal with it.
We drove home along the coast line as the sun slowly set and offered us views of the marshes and river and many boats tied to the homeside docks. I must have counted twenty hawks, ospreys and one eagle. We crossed the long bridge as daylight passed into darkness. It had been a good day.
She fell into sleep with a smile on her face.