No Memorial Day parade in Dallastown yesterday — a casualty of the COVID pandemic, no doubt — so I went down to Baltimore to visit the cemeteries of my grandparents and great-grandparents and leave flags.

I hadn’t been down that way since March, when I lined up the old photograph of the trolley at Loudon Park Cemetery.

Photographs are silent. It was anything but silent. Driving on the expressway, seventy miles an hour, Led Zeppelin on the stereo, I could hear the cicada droning in the Beetle. Occasionally, I was attacked by a cicada, and it would make a clicking sound that sounded vaguely like a copier spitting out paper. Generally, the droning whine sounded like Christopher Pike had set his hand laser to overload on Talos IV.

There hasn’t been a cicada outbreak here in York County. I didn’t know what I was missing.

My great-grandparents

I visited all of the sites of relatives I know of and have found, even though I know next to nothing about most of them beyond names and dates, leaving flags I bought at Big Lots last weekend. I had considered last weekend possibly going to DC and Congressional Cemetery over the weekend and using the flags there, but the weekend was cold and rainy, and the idea of going into DC on Memorial Day didn’t appeal.

I visited H.L. Mencken. I was amused by a stone with bunches of flowers attached with cable ties. And, for James Bond fans, there’s an unexpectedly surprising number of Lazenbys interred there at Loudon Park.

My grandparents’ cemetery was fine, if a little swampy. The cloud action on Memorial Day was definitely on point.

My grandparents
Credit: Allyn Gibson

It was a nice outing. I didn’t see many people at all.

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