Flags on graves always make me cry

it was the 3rd year in Smallville that Bobby and i began to make Memorial Day memories

we were newcomers...a title we would hold for 16 years...from the day we came til the day we left

since we were under 50...we were a prime age to be asked to do favors for oldsters in town who just couldn't do them anymore

so when the American Legion didn't have anyone to put the little American flags on the gravesites of the soldiers buried there we were asked

it was a busy weekend for me...my friend and my little cable radio station were doing our 1st 24 hour "Grateful Dead Concert" which of course included requests...we figured it would put us on the map and cultivate entree to 3 or 4 other little towns around to want to carry our station

little did we know that it was our willingness to put up the flags that would really win the heart of Smallville's folks


the cemetery was a big windswept place with the only pine trees in town...they were left behind by the lumberman of old who had cut down every other pine tree many years before when it was a logging town...it had an erry feeling when the wind whispered thru the pines

that year was the first year i'd ever spent any time there...putting up flags as i read the gravestones...beloved husband..beloved wife...beloved child....

many of the soldiers were Civil War veterans

some Confederate...some Union...

in a small barely marked area was a group of graves simply marked "BABIES"...a few had dates...1918..1919...1920...about 10 babies were there..no names...just the title "babies"

no one came to visit them..no loving flowers were strew in the mustard colored grass

i got worried about those babies...no one left to care...so i asked Darla at Country Flowers about them


(she was part of one of the 5 generational families that lived in Smallville and knew all the history from the time the town was platted in 1869)

they were "Flu Babies" she told me...babies who died either before or after birth due to the Spanish Flu..she was sweet about my concern and loaded me up with free flowers to put on their graves..a chore i would do for the next 12 years

now that i'm gone others do it


Memorial weekend was always a big day for Smallville too...so many family members living elsewhere came to stay with relatives to place flowers on passed family members graves

and there was a HUGE Motorcycle Ralley just West of town..with bikers traveling from everywhere in Oregon to attend...they always stopped to visit and eat and hoist a few in Smallville

then they'd drop by the Radio Station..request a few songs..have a beer and listen to live music..our station KGAB had live music every year

we'd get an ear full of their tales of other places they'd been in the previous year...then we'd have them tell their stories on the radio...they loved that...we'd record them and give them a copy


they were such nice people...even the HOG riders...hahahahahahaha...most were professionals and rode Ducati's and Moto Guzzi's and such

one of the nicest was a lawyer who became such a good friend of the station he tried to help us weed thru the process of winning a low power FM tower in Smallville..and he did it for just about all we could afford....free

our GRATEFUL DEAD albums songs blared out of every business in town

and all the tiny flags waved in the cemetery as mournful became thoughtful and then celebratory as this high desert wheatland town of 1000 people had for another year sustained it's place in the cosmos

and taken 2 outlanders to their loving breast and acknowledged them as well


antigeekess May 30, 2010 @ 5:19 p.m.

Aw, nan. I'm glad someone's taken over flower duty for those flu babies.

That was a horrible epidemic, you know.


50-100 million people. Just unbelievable.


MsGrant May 30, 2010 @ 6:23 p.m.

All beloved. Nan, I took a ride past the Rosecrans cemetery yesterday. I took pictures because I could not help it. You are a historian so keep taking the pictures because it is so necessary that we record this stuff.


antigeekess May 30, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.

Cemeteries are beautiful places to take pictures. There's something really poignant about photographing them in the spring, with all the new flowers and trees in bloom. One of the tiniest and prettiest I've ever seen when in bloom is up in Ferndale.



CuddleFish May 30, 2010 @ 9:11 p.m.

Thank you for sharing those memories, nan, and for what you did for those babies.


nan shartel May 30, 2010 @ 11:04 p.m.

thx auntie G and it was a horror...my grandmother lost a set of twins with the flu...and the Ferndale Cemetery is amazingly beautiful..it knocks me out

do u live in Ferndale???

i understand it has the largest number of Victorian buildings in the US...what an amazing town...it's like Smallville...just a 1000 residents

thx so much for that pic sweetie


nan shartel May 30, 2010 @ 11:05 p.m.

that cemetery at Rosecrans is touching Grantie...so many sweet brave boys buried there

War is hell


antigeekess May 30, 2010 @ 11:09 p.m.

I'm not nearly that far north, nan. Not anymore. The pic is off the net. Mine are all glossy prints. Perhaps one day I'll have to scan & upload. Or else go up there & take some more. :)

Ferndale is so cute, it's where they shot "The Majestic," with Jim Carrey: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Majestic/60021791?strackid=2dfe0fb1d6b308c4_0_srl&strkid=1083785369_0_0&trkid=438381

Sweet film.


nan shartel May 30, 2010 @ 11:11 p.m.

after i started the flowers for the babies everyone joined in...those graves had been ignored for years...as if their short time on earth didn't warrant remembrance

i spent most of my work life taking care of and helping try to save tiny babies...24 to 26 weekers...so i was sensitive to their importance even if they never drew a breath out of utero

my heart is very tender where they r concerned

thx Cuddles


nan shartel May 30, 2010 @ 11:27 p.m.

i loved that movie...i saw Ferndale on PBS when Hughl Howser visited the town

i got such a kick out of the end of the show where they showed the old coffee drinkers open a restaurant the didn't own..starting the coffee and heating up the grill for the cook..hahahahaha.. acted like that was such an unusual thing....hahahahahaha

that happened everyday in Smallville...along with unlocked doors and keys left in the ignition of cars and them even running if it was really cold or snowing

towns like that r truly a step back into yesteryear...i miss it so much..but Bobby couldn't take the winters anymore

i'll tell u all about Robbie Burns Birthday party every year one of these days..Smallville residents were primarily Scots


SurfPuppy619 May 31, 2010 @ 8:30 a.m.

i loved that movie...i saw Ferndale on PBS when Hughl Howser visited the town

i got such a kick out of the end of the show where they showed the old coffee drinkers open a restaurant the didn't own..starting the coffee and heating up the grill for the cook..hahahahaha.. acted like that was such an unusual thing....hahahahahaha

nan, I love the California Gold segments Huell Howser does for PBS. Have loved them for years and years.

There are so many now (he's been doing them forever) that it is hard to nail down even a top 20 list-thanks for the heads up on the ferndale segment-I'll keep my eye open for it.


MsGrant May 31, 2010 @ 8:43 a.m.

Yes, tell the story of Robbie Burns!! I love cemeteries. When I went to Scotland I loved that you could turn of the street and step into a cemetery and it was really QUIET. Like this little pasture of grace or something. And they were everywhere in Edinburgh , just part of the city, which we don't really see here in the states, except maybe New York and these little towns like Smallville and Ferndale. These pictures are great nan and AG.


nan shartel May 31, 2010 @ 3:25 p.m.

yes grantie...that would be fun...and we'd could pipe in the haggis

Haggis Ingredients

When I describe Haggis ingredients you might just be a bit horrified! In fact in some countries such as USA you can’t get some of the ingredients, and ‘vegetarian haggis’ is served as an alternative. It is served all year but especially at Burns Supper when it is served with Chappit Potatoes and bashed neeps, after the famous Cock O' Leek Soup and then followed by Tipsy Laird and a tassie ' coffee.

Other famous recipes include Roast Venison, with dishes like Clootie Dumpling which is full of rich dark fruit; or if that's too heavy, try the lighter Crannachan, made with oats, whisky and cream.

By the way, if YOU have a Scottish Recipe you'd like to share with others on this site, please contribute HERE.

However, if you are from North America and keen to try it, you can have Award Winning Haggis shipped direct from the States, and that meets all US health regulations.

But Scotland is famous for its Haggis and it is renowned throughout the world. Indeed if you ask any Scot about the haggis you will get a variety of haggis tales and folklore stories and amusing descriptions, many of which foreigners believe quite happily.

The haggis is traditionally served at Burns Suppers on 25th January each year to commemorate Rabbie Burns, one of our national poets, and ceremoniously brought to the table with bagpipes playing.


MsGrant May 31, 2010 @ 4:07 p.m.

I lived on neeps and tatties while I was there. I've had the vegetarian option and it is pretty good, but husband enjoyed the real deal. Some would think our food pretty strange, like Tater Tots, etc.


MichaelMonterey June 1, 2010 @ 1:45 a.m.

Dear Nan, You are amazingly wonderful and, clearly, spontaneously, irrepressibly creative. You are also clearly heroic and say what you're inspired to say no matter who needs to hear it. That makes you a genuine human Dakini, a Lady skywalker. Your being so beautiful, energetic, and wise makes you even more adorable. Please give me a call at 760 500 6171 / 619 443 0157 or email > [email protected] < I'd love to meet you ASAP. Blissings, Michael


Duhbya June 1, 2010 @ 5:49 a.m.

Re #11: I love them, too, MsG, and my daughter even more so. I dropped her off at a friend's house yesterday for our town's Memorial Day Parade, and as I was turning around I noticed a small, very old cemetery virtually in their neighbor's back yard. I mentioned it to my daughter,and she said "Oh, that's a Revolutionary and Civil War cemetery. The oldest marker I've seen in there is from the 1790's." Here's a shot from the one that's just down the street from us.



nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 11:24 a.m.

i think the Scots might like Tater Tots Grantie...i'm sure the Brit and the French would...with malt vinegar and delicious Cod

now i'm hungry!!!


nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 11:27 a.m.

what a fabulous pic Duhbya...i didn't realise San Diego had such a colorful Autumn...is that a San Diego pic???

thx so much for the beauty of a pic


nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 11:41 a.m.

Michael...u r quite irrepressible urself;-)

ur compliments r welcome altho i'm just an ordinary person with long lovely history

Dearest Grantie has already put me up for canonization...hahahahaha...and i do love the Sky Woman Goddess...i'm also just arrogant enough to like the idea i would be the mate of the creator of the world ;-)

an Iroquis myth..i have alway been fascinated with the cohesiveness for a time of the 5 nations...my native background is Cherokee/Choctaw

thx for the calling invitation but i would have to think seriously about that because i can already tell u would make my nostrils flare...hahahahaha...not a good thing for a much married honorable wife with a pressing need to be heroic

thx so much for the kind words Michael...Darshan...Nan


MsGrant June 1, 2010 @ 11:49 a.m.

Yes, Duhbya, that is a great photo - it looks like New York State.

Nan, I think you are right. Who doesn't like Tater Tots?

Now you're gonna have Michael and Don fighting over you - pistols at dawn?!!?


nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 12:22 p.m.

Don doesn't give a rats ass about me Grantie...the political raconteur knows i don't have a mind....hahahahahahaha....for politics that is

but i simply love to joust with that upstanding dude

Michael is quite something else...dangerous i think ;-)

where's a SurfPuppy when u need him...hahahahahahahaha


MsGrant June 1, 2010 @ 12:37 p.m.

Yep, he is a pretty cool, for an old guy ;) The Reader is lucky to have him. I've actually been reading Don for years, being a long time subscriber to the UT and a Reader reader forever, but I have little to add to his blog, because local politics aren't my bag either. But I learn what I do know from reading his blog....you provide a little ying to his yang :)


nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 12:47 p.m.

he's been sweet to me considering i'm much like a pesky mosquito over at his blog...he's a dear man really...smart as a whip and the READER is unbelievably lucky to have him...did u know May 28th was his birthday???

i just wished him a happy one...why don't u drop by and wish him one too Grantie...how can he be older..he's as prolific as a young blogger...the man is an IRON MAN!!!!



a2zresource June 1, 2010 @ 1:25 p.m.

"many of the soldiers were Civil War veterans

some Confederate...some Union..."

When I got to the Old Guard, 17 and straight out of JROTC, I spent many hours walking through Arlington National Cemetery, past the old Lee Mansion at the center of it, and among the headstones of the Civil War veterans.

I got a taste of the discrimination back then on noting that the shape of every Confederate soldier's tombstone was cut in a manner to separate all of them from the tombstones of Federal soldiers.

(I did what I hope was a non controversial blog entitled "Torchlight Tattoo Memory for Memorial Day"...)


Duhbya June 1, 2010 @ 1:36 p.m.

Re#'s 18 & 20: It's here in Maine, "downeast" sector, just west of Bah Hahbah, a.k.a. Bar Harbor.


nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 3:46 p.m.

i will go and read that one a2zreesource..don't worry about controversy if it real...we grow from differing ideas


Duhbya June 2, 2010 @ 10:55 a.m.

nan, I've actually had to ask some folks to repeat words they had just spoken in the hopes of being able to understand them. Some unique dialects on display up heah. Also, some interesting terminology. If you're having an extremely busy day, you're "right out straight." And many people, when putting you on hold, use the phrase, "Hold right on." Hamburger loses the last syllable, too, as in "Wanna go get a hamburg?". It's entertaining, actually.


nan shartel June 2, 2010 @ 3:02 p.m.

i have a best friend who lived with her husband for 7 years after they graduated from MIT in Maine...and she has a sis who lives in Bah Hahbah

she was from Mass tho so i don't think they had any difficulty

in Oregon the people in town said "tote ur groceries home" ..call trucks "rigs"...and if u cooked an especially nice meal they'd say u "put a good scald on it"

that was a BIG compliment

colloquial language is fun!!!


Duhbya June 2, 2010 @ 4:19 p.m.

I love it, too! I probably shouldn't mention (but duty commands me) that folks from Massachusetts are generally referred to as "M*ssholes". Kinda reminds me of the "Invasion of the Zonies" every summer in SD. Often seen bumper sticker in the PB/MB/OB areas from the 60's / 70's: "Tourist, Go Home - But Leave Your Daughters!". Oh, my....


Tallsharon May 25, 2012 @ 6:28 p.m.

Touching, authentic, uplifting, and obviously inspiring. Love the flags on babies graves and the dead marathon contrast/ and transition. Even Encinitas, old Encinitas was an unlocked doors, dogs run free, bathing suits in restaurants, oldies and youngies drinking on the beach. In the early 70s. And I'm still a "maybe I'll have to leave the country that would even consider some of the wacky candidates running for president on the red side. " I was 16 when we visited the easy rider above ground cemetery mortuary in new Orleans, and 44 when I went to see Jim Morrison in paris, and 25 when I saw the gorgeous artificial flower laden seaside graves in Martinique. In 94 I wandered through cemeteries on achill island on the west coast of Ireland looking for family. Stone henge and the burial mounds. Diana Gabaldon's back in time saga thru the stones in scotland with darling Jamie the man of my dreams. Yeah Friday.


nan shartel May 27, 2012 @ 2:46 p.m.

aaaaaahhhhhhhh Sharon...u would have loved Smallville Oregon...and u would have fit in perfectly because u have that second sight so needed to really make friends with small town Scots

if u ever get tired of Escondido try Smallville as a home base...the wind blows there about 50 feet in the air at exactly the same time almost everyday...and there's twilight (or as the Scots say gloaming)....the perfect visit with ur neighbors on the front porch as u walk about hour or so

if i was still there we'd be fast friends...i can tell...hahahahahaha


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