We went to the Greenwood Cemetery in Petoskey today for a simple graveyard service for the gentle man who helped me so much in my garden last year all summer long. There were many neighbors there who are members of his extended family. His family, perhaps from Poland, spell their three-syllable name at least four different ways, I wondered if that was from the time when the Ellis Island employees just wrote down what they thought they heard. It was amazing to see so many neighboring monuments standing near each other with variations of the same name. It was a beautiful day at the cemetery, probably at the most lovely time of year there. I would have loved to stay and wander around looking at markers and autumn foliage; I haven't spent much time in cemeteries. It had rained earlier, so everything glistened, but the sky was clear for the short speech and a prayer. The death had been sudden, violent and unexpected. I was introduced to many of his kinfolk, who were welcoming and friendly. I have been thinking about extended families ever since.
My parents left Arizona with my father's work for General Electric in New York State. So my experience with extended families is limited to the families of my mother's brothers, who also moved East. We only saw them once or twice a year, most years.
how he loved to garden
all his cut-short life