Earlier this week, Kelly invited Phillip and me to spend a day with her on Saturday (today). It was her offer for us to hang out with her – talk about Mom, if we wanted, or just sit quietly, if that’s what we wanted.
Kelly is an amazing friend.
Meanwhile, Brian posted an event he was interested in: a history walk through Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery, also on Saturday (today). Kelly asked Phillip and me if we wanted to join in on the history walk.
Phillip and I asked each other if a walk through a cemetery is the right thing for us, so soon after Mom’s passing. I immediately replied: Yes.
It brought back a memory of one of Mom’s stories. Growing up in Gadsden, Alabama in the 1930s and 1940s, she told us, it was common for families to have picnics in cemeteries. I’m sure Mom always thought of a cemetery as a pleasant place to spend an afternoon with relatives. I’m sure Mom would have enjoyed a history walk through Evergreen Cemetery.
(Mom was cremated, by the way.)
So, Phillip and I agreed to the walk.
Phillip and I drove up to Everett this morning. Kelly mentioned that they was going to be refreshments before the walk, so we left her house early. Kelly’s Mom came with us.
What we were all picturing this event would be like, was this: An esoteric event through a tiny old cemetery, with maybe five or six people joining us, and coffee and doughnuts beforehand.
What actually happened was: Around 40 people arrived for the walk. There were several members of The Everett Historical Society running the regularly-scheduled event. The refreshments were an enormous buffet table of homemade scones and cinnamon rolls, huge bowls of fruit and hard-boiled eggs, vats of yogurt with several toppings available, orange juice and coffee, and on and on. There was a suggested donation of $5.
(Phillip called it a well-oiled machine.)
And Evergreen Cemetery is gigantic. None of us had any idea.
Unfortunately, neither Brian nor Kathi could join us. (They had a sick car to take care of.)
I enjoyed the walk. I would have enjoyed it more if I knew more about present-day Everett, but I did learn some things about the city’s past.
The most fascinating thing about the walk, for me, was when the speaker talked about the evolution of burial sites from grave yards attached to a church to separate areas known as cemeteries. He explained that, once they became cemeteries, people would take a train (or later, drive a car) to spend a day picnicking among their relatives. This, he explained, was when cemeteries became more park-like, with trees and landscaping.
I learned today that the Gadsden of Mom’s childhood wasn’t actually a weird place.
Evergreen Cemetery is gigantic, like I said before. After an hour of walking, the walk was still going on. Kelly’s Mom was getting tired, so, over her objections, we cut our visit short.
We dropped Kelly’s Mom off at home. Kelly and Phillip and I went shopping in Fred Meyer, and had lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant that’s also a tortilla factory.
We went back to Kelly’s place and watched some movie we found on Netflix. Then Phillip and I drove home.
It was a wonderful day.