Thursday, May 8, 2014
Continuing a tradition
Little Jake, a kindergarten student, asked where I was going after we had eaten lunch.
“To the cemetery,” I replied.
“Where Nanny is?” he asked.
“Yes,” was the simplest reply I could think of at the time.
Each family has its traditions. One of the Burlesons’ is Decoration Day each first Sunday in May at Cedar Tree Cemetery in Hackleburg, Ala.
As I do each year, I looked forward to this one, this past Sunday, May 4, but I dreaded it more than ever, too.
It was my first trip back to Cedar Tree since my mother (and Jake’s great-grandmother) died five months ago.
She has typically always accompanied me when I go to the cemetery on Sunday afternoon following lunch.
But instead, this year I was visiting the grave of Lavelle Burleson, remembering my terrific mom and the tremendous legacy she left behind. She was buried beside my dad, Wilburn Burleson, who died when I was in elementary school. I miss her greatly. I think about her each day, most days more than once.
First Sunday in May has always been a special day for my mother and our family – from putting new flowers on the graves of our loved ones to family reunions.
She always looked forward to the family gatherings and the smiles and the hugs and the memories of those who had passed on before her.
Unfortunately, the planned family reunions, with all the relatives on the Frederick side of the family (Mother’s maiden name) have ceased.
But we continue to meet at my sister’s house for lunch and then go to the cemetery.
In the past several years though, Mother has always walked with me as we strolled across the freshly-cut grass and talked about the family tree and much more.
This year, Pam, Erin and I took a little longer to walk across the property on one of the most beautiful days for first Sunday ever. We made sure we walked past every grave Mother would have wanted us to visit. We combed the cemetery twice.
At one point, I said, “This is tough.”
Pam said, “It’s OK. Your mom is watching us. She’s happy we’re here, carrying on the tradition. She’s smiling.”
I know she was laughing as we walked around, looking at tombstones, and taking mental notes on names.
One we just learned of last Sunday, thanks to my sister, was “Orchester” My great-grandfather was Wiley O. Brewer. The “O” is for Orchester. He is buried beside my great-grandmother Jennie.
My grandparents were Huey and Agnes Frederick and Emmett and Banner Burleson.
They’re all buried at Cedar Tree, along with many more relatives, from aunts to uncles to cousins and so forth.
It’s a beautiful cemetery, overlooking a small town, where I spent a lot of time as a child and as a teenager. It’s a community filled with good, down-to-earth folks.
Hackleburg continues to rebuild after a tornado that leveled it three years ago. It’s making progress.
We rode by one of the most anticipated projects, the new school. I saw coach Ronnie Anglin of the Hackleburg Panthers at the cemetery and he said maybe it would be ready this fall or winter.
Visiting rural Hackleburg the first Sunday in May is a tradition – and a special one, indeed.
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
The South Reporter
P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page