Buried At Arlington

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I don’t remember much about the first time I visited
Grandma and Grandpa here
but Momma said it was Spring – around Easter Time
Grandpa and Daddy got the ladder out
and put the swing up in the tree out in the front yard
and Momma and Grandma took turns swinging my brother high into the branches
I laughed and laughed at the pretty blossoms
that would flutter down like snow all around us
Grandma said they were dancing just for me
When I was 7 and almost grown we spent the summer there while Daddy came out on weekends
That was the year Grandma got sick and the swing was replaced by a glider under the tree
so she could rest in the shade during those hot Summer days
She’d tell us stories about when she and Grandpa were young and they fell in love
on a summer day just like this one
The tree was already old by then and she showed me where
he had carved their initials in the trunk and put a heart around it high up in the branches
That Fall he’d asked her to marry him under this same tree
and she’d said yes.
By Spring the Foundation to their home was built and they were married
She wore the white blossoms from their tree in her hair
and Grandpa said she was the most beautiful girl in the world “still is” he always adds
The following year my brother joined the Army
before he left he helped Dad build the tree house and added his name to the trunk
beside the others who had fought for their country.
That fall the branches were so heavy with fruit that some of the oldest ones broke from the weight
Dad, Grandpa and a couple of cousins made benches of the fallen limbs while taking great
pains to preserve the history carved into them.
I began to realize why Grandma had always
referred to the tree as our Legacy
as she pointed to each set of dates and initials and told us who they were and how we were
related
Then Grandpa got the old Family Bible down from the attic and carved some more dates and
names in them before they sealed and varnished the wood.
The next winter Grandpa passed and Grandma just seemed to give up after that – by the time the
tree began dropping its blossoms she had joined him
Dad added both names to the tree bench side by side and
soon after that his job took us away
Uncle Ben came home to take care of the farm and stayed in the house
while they were building his place up the road on the North Ridge where the Old House had once stood.
He planted two new apple trees; one close to the old tree that was dying, the other at the new house where he placed a marker with two dates carved into it.
One date was very, very old – the date they’d broke ground on the first house,
one brand new – the date the new house was completed.
That was the year my brother made his last trip home; part of him anyway.
Dad took his knife out of his pocket and made one final carving in the wood of the old tree.
Jason Barton
3/21/1948 – 12/19/1969
“Served his country proudly”
Buried at
ARLINGTON

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