LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
As most of you read this column - after the mail runs on Tuesday - I will be returning from six days off. I usually take a few days each May, primarily to make Memorial Day flowers. I was fortunate enough to inherit some craftiness from my mother, who dutifully made floral arrangements for family who had gone on before. It was routine to see flowers on her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles each Memorial Day - even if it was just a simple few flowers tied together with a simple ribbon.
After my father died in 1983, I began my own tradition and after moving back here 20 years ago, I took over the floral making for Mom whose hands were not so spry from carpal tunnel syndrome, two strokes and two open heart surgeries.
The world had become less simple but more expensive as we split the cost of flowers and I carefully crafted headsprays and vase flowers for family members who had gone on before. In our family, Memorial Day weekend is a big deal.
It marks “Homecoming” at our community church, Sinking Creek Baptist. More commonly known as “Decoration,” the weekend is marked with decorating the cemetery on Saturday and a morning and afternoon singing service that highlights the blend of four-part harmony gospel songs, interjected between dinner prepared by some of the best cooks in the county - who also have some of the best voices for the beautiful melodies that float out from the church walls on the Sunday before Memorial Day each year.
Many of the traditional voices that marked Sinking Creek Church and people who called the community home are marked by gravestones in the cemetery just across the roadway from the church.
But their descendants continue the tradition, coming from their respective states and churches to honor the tradition set centuries ago.