So often, driving home on the Memorial Day weekend, the skies were littered with these bright, plump clouds, a brilliant blue background that seemed to reach up forever.

My father was the sexton and groundskeeper for the village cemetery. We children worked for him during the summers, and also, leading up to the Memorial Day weekend, when everything had to be perfect.

This will be the first Memorial Day weekend without him.

My sister posted a picture that she’d scanned in hi-res from the assortment of photographs and letters she took with her back to the East Coast, after Father’s funeral. This one’s from the war years and sent by Father to Mother.

photograph from WW II

They were married before Pearl Harbor. Mother joined the Navy afterward. Father was in the Army [training sergeant] at Fort Dodge, having joined the Army before the U.S. entered the war, which is how he ended up in the same state as Mother.