So I’ve been visiting Arlington Cemetery pretty frequently these days, mostly on the weekends since I finally went and applied for a family member pass in person. I’ve been leaving flowers at Mom’s tombstone and always smiling the following week when I return to find that the grounds crew has taken them away. I’ve left a variety of things, from roses to carnations to gerber daisies, trying to mix things up so that there’s always a little something different, perhaps next time I’ll do magnolias. Anyway, I’ve at times wondered when they do the grounds keeping and what they do – do they take flowers that are perfectly good and toss them or do they take only the wilted flowers or are the flowers taken by animals that visit the tombs at night? I see the grounds keepers driving around in their trucks and other golf cart like vehicles, but have never actually been there while they’re doing any of the actually grounds keeping or mowing of grass or anything. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably just not there at the right time of day to see them hard at work keeping the grounds looking magnificent as they do.
Nevertheless, as I mentioned, I recently took some flowers over to Mom’s tombstone and laid them to rest there. Just a grouping of carnations from the Flower Den flower shop in Annandale, Virginia – okay, so I’ll admit I’m not really sure where this is based on the fact that it’s Bradlick Shopping Center which is on the cusp of Annandale, Alexandria and North Springfield (all within Fairfax County). I continue to go in there to purchase flowers and they always ask me if it’s a different occasion, sooner or later they’ll clue in that it’s always for my Mom’s tomb – unless of course my life suddenly changes and there’s a significant other (okay, rabbit trail, at the moment there isn’t but you never know when God is going to change your life eh?).
On Sunday afternoon, my Uncle Bobby from Atlanta, GA called to let me know that he had arrived for his visit and if we could go over to Arlington National Cemetery. I told him that I would be glad to take him along, not mentioning that I had left flowers the day prior, but figuring that he would realize as such with the flowers there on the ground next to the tombstone. As we got closer to the tombstone, walking up from behind it, we could see that the flowers had been moved, but we couldn’t really see the flowers. Alas, as we got to the tombstone, we noticed that the flowers were only stems and missing the flower petals and bulb – someone had a good lunch 🙂
So the lesson learned in all of this was that even though we may leave flowers for Mom, they may only really be around for a day before the deer find them for their next meal.
All in all, I still find this place to be incredibly peaceful. There are the occasional airplanes taking off and landing from Reagan National Airport, but compared to anywhere else on this planet, this seems to be the best place to just go and breathe in some fresh air and let my heart’s guard down to talk.
If you’ve never been to Arlington National Cemetery, I encourage you to go, and check in to see my Mom, she’s in section 64.