By: Tamon Mark Uttech
Summertime, And the livin’ is easy – Fish are jumping – And the cotton is high – Your Daddy’s rich – and your Mammy’s good looking – so hush little baby, don’t you cry – “Summertime”
It seems to be that when I wander about and see how others are doing, I’m doing all right.
I had the morning of Memorial Day all planned out. The road could not have been more perfectly named: Cemetery Road. There’s an additional road sign that says: Dead End. And yes, there’s a small cemetery there: Sweet Cemetery. The cemetery looked so small I thought I could count the graves, but that turned out to be as confusing as trying to count the leaves on a tree! (And I tried that once too.) When I googled it online, I found that 134 graves are recorded there.
The graves went back to the 1700s. There were many graves decorated with flags. The little fluttering flags were the price tags of freedom. Old and new. People named: Reals. People named: Sweet. A cemetery is an equalizing place; everyone goes there. It is another kind of parade. It doesn’t matter if you’re not there.
One of these mornings – you’re going to rise up singing – then you’ll spread your wings – and take to the sky – But until that morning – there’s nothing can harm you – with your daddy and your mammy standing by – “Summertime”
That song sort of came to life for me in that cemetery; wandering about looking at the graves with the flags, thinking of all the wars, the sacrifices, I noticed a fresh pile of dirt so I went over to read the stone. There was no flag, so it couldn’t have been a veteran. The simple, marble stone read: Baby 1880. The fresh pile of dirt was the doings of a groundhog. Imagine. Making a home in the shadow of a tombstone. You can’t make up that kind of sense. Of course, ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ were buried right by.
When I was growing up, Memorial Day always meant there was going to be a parade. Cookouts. Maybe even fireworks. I never thought about the cemetery part until this year. Never had a close family member make the sacrifice that wars call for.
Summertime, And the livin’ is easy – The fish are jumping – And the cotton is high – Your Daddy’s rich – And your Mammy’s good looking – So hush little baby, don’t you cry – “Summertime”
What made this Memorial Day different was not the bombs bursting in air, or the flags that were still there, but the Quietness. War itself is kind of quiet. The enemy within. Just when you think the main event of the summer has passed, it hasn’t.
“Wait,” you say, “wasn’t it the 4th of July?” And granted, you’d be right in thinking of the 4th of July as the main event of the summer if you are living in America. All of the fireworks displays, parades, the explosions, and flags must have convinced you by now…
But no. Summer festivities will go on, in smaller and smaller fashion; the State Fairs, the County Fairs, City Fests, Town Fests, Village Fests. College Graduations, High School Graduations, Confirmations, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Funerals, Weddings, and Baptisms.
Which one is the main event of the Summertime? Really, my friend, the main event of the Summertime will be up to you. You might be lucky enough to see a fish jump.