This morning was the annual meeting of the AFTBOOGOOGD. It was a drizzly kind of day, but mild in temperature. Just the right weather for this tradition.

Now, I must begin (assuming you have clicked the link back to find out what this is all about) by telling you that in the cemetery where much of my family is interred there is a large Chinese section just to the right of the entry. For many years, Bonnie and I were impressed with the quantity of oranges left on the stones there, but last year, to our dismay, there wasn't an orange in sight. No oranges. No explanation. We decided that this year we'd take a couple of oranges and put them at the gateway to the Chinese section.

As we drove to the cemetery, we discussed this plan and thought that if there were any oranges at all in the Chinese section, we'd find another use for our produce. There were none on the front row of the section, but we did see a couple a few rows back.

Our first stop was to our uncle's grave. We hung the spray that Bonnie had made and fondly remembered our Uncle. He had been a gentle soul with an easy laugh and a twinkle in his eye. We wondered if he, too, had once noticed the oranges down the way. We decided to leave one on his stone.

Our parents have a smaller stone without a little base to accommodate a piece of fruit, but we nestled an orange in a little cluster of leaves. Our mother would have enjoyed this.

We drove over to where our grandparents' grave is located but we didn't have an orange for them. Next year.

On the way there, we noticed a new grave with a flag that we didn't recognize and wondered what it was. I thought I would look it up when I got home.

Not far from our grandparents, there is a small plot we always check on. It is for two baby girls and each year these little ones are lavishly memorialized. This year the theme is angels and Christmas balls, with countless examples of each. Of interest, this year there is a little fence enclosing the decorations. I went close to look at the flags; some were American and some are the same flag that we had seen on that other grave. This turned out to be the flag of South Vietnam, and it all made sense because the family name on the stone is an Asian one, and the photos of the lovely little girls are distinctly Asian.

Finally we have the extended M family plot. We don't know this family personally, but each year we visit to see what they have done to remember their loved ones. There is one individual who was only about thirteen when he died. Their grief is so palpable and so understandable. There are four stones in their section and the decorations are extensive and kind of all-over-the-map. These two photos are from last year.

We were surprised this year when we stopped to see that someone with a sense of order had taken charge of the decorating. The remembrance items were new and neat, the leaves had been swept away, and a small fence has been installed.

Thus ends the report of AFTBOOGOOGD 2019.


Janet O. said…
Fascinating--and that name is a mouthful. I don't know if I'd be able to remember it all from year to year. :)
When we do our family grave visiting on Memorial Day, in the little hillside country cemetery where my father is buried (in the tiny town where he was born), we have been known to toss a frisbee around, gather folding chairs in a circle and tell family stories, and we end this extended family gathering with a group photo, balancing my camera on someone's headstone and setting the timer while as many as 30 of us all scramble to fit ourselves in. Some may consider us irreverent, too, but we rejoice in the memories of our family members, and find much to laugh about as we remember good times with them. We like to think they look down on us with smiles and look forward to when we join them.
Quiltdivajulie said…
As a child I spent many many summer afternoons helping my mother tend the live plants on the graves of our deceased family members (in our own town - otherwise it was Memorial Day only). Given that my mother lost her first baby, there was always enormous sadness involved when watering the plants (after carrying the heavy watering can from two sections away). Consequently, my sister and I are rarely involved in the AFTBOOGOODGD effort these days. Not because we don't care but because we can remember and honor those folks in many other ways without having to physically trek to the cemetery. Kudos to you and Bonnie for making your annual visit (and I loved the introductory post).
Lori said…
What a memorable tradition! I love everything about ti!! Merry Christmas Nancy!!
Nann said…
That's one initialism I could not figure out, so I'm glad you linked to the explanation. Since my grandparents were buried in California and western Pennsylvania my immediate family had no custom of cemetery visiting. When I lived in a small city in Texas (my first library job) I quickly learned about cemetery associations and family plots, as well as ethnic/racial customs in grave decorating.