Christmas Day was a quiet, thoughtful day for my mom and me. It was our first Christmas without my dad, and things were somewhat subdued. My mom was having Christmas dinner at her house for the two of us, but my first stop was to be the cemetery. My dad’s headstone, which was provided by the Veterans’ Administration had finally been put in place, and I wanted to go see it.
The Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis” — Always Faithful — is a fitting thing to have on his marker, not just because he was a Marine, but because that was the way he lived his whole life. I can’t think of a phrase that better describes him. He truly was always faithful — to his parents, to his siblings, to his wife of 67 years, to his children, and to his friends. He was a man of courage and conviction, who took his duties and responsibilities seriously as a citizen and as a man, and who was not afraid to stand up and be counted when it came to the things he believed in.
Most of the time, I’m OK with the fact that he’s gone, because it means he no longer has to endure what his life had become, but every now and then, the memories blindside me and I miss him desperately.
I might note here that the kind of lawn grass we have here (Cynodon dactylon) dies in the fall, and comes back from the roots in the spring, so there’s no grass on his grave yet, and won’t be until the end of next summer.
On the way from the cemetery to my mom’s house, I finally had my camera with me when I was driving down this street, and took the opportunity to finally get a picture of this boxwood shrub. The original owners of this corner house had shaped it into a sphere and cut a smiley face into it, and it had become a familiar and friendly landmark. Happily, when the house changed hands a year or so ago, the new owners have continued the practice. The bush is wearing a Santa hat in honor of the Christmas season.
Mom decided she couldn’t not put up a Christmas tree and put out some of her decorations. On the Thursday before Christmas, she had had a little get together of good friends, but for Christmas day, it was just the two of us. We had a quiet meal of ham, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and “sunshine” salad.