The last time I spent an hour or so at the cemetery must have been five or six years ago. Two of my aunts were then in the thick of a raging battle, and the tug-o-war for the "loyalties" of those who remained in neutral was just too much. Since then, my November 1 "tradition" included everything but a visit to what passed for an extended family mausoleum.
This year, I broke my self-imposed moratorium and trudged the almost forgotten path. Ma needed company, and since the two aunts weren't home, there was little chance of my ears being bombarded with the "hush-hush latest." After a few tricky turns--during which I realized that it wasn't such a maze after all--I finally found the almost-empty mausoleum.
For something like ten minutes it was peace and quiet and all things in between. And then, cousins and aunts (wives of uncles, actually), started trickling in, and so did the litany of who-did-whats, who-paid-for-this', and to-whom-it-may-concerns.
By the time I left an hour later, my head was throbbing. And it wasn't from jostling my way past the then already surging crowd. Lesson learned? Pay your respects, but not on November 1.