Memorial Day is near and out at the Chariton Cemetery the white rose is blooming again, rambling up the big stone the marks the graves of James and Delia Robbins. To my mind this is the best bedecked tombstone in the cemetery, flanked as it is, too, by pink and white peonies. And it's all natural, courtesy of family members who planted these floral tributes not long after the couple died during 1922.
A couple of years ago, the rose was trimmed back to the ground by groundskeepers and it's taken a while to bounce back. But this year, it's flourishing.
The Robbins moved to Lucas County from Indiana back in 1864 and farmed for nearly 50 years in both Lucas and Clarke counties. During 1910, they retired and moved into Chariton.
After 61 years of marriage, they died a day apart --- James on Sunday, April 30, 1922; and Delia, on Monday, May 1. Joint funeral services were held on the following Wednesday at First Methodist Church and burial followed here.
Here's how The Herald-Patriot of May 4 described them: "The two lives of Mr. and Mrs. Robbins were lived out in peculiarly beautiful harmony. They began life within about three months of each other, and went out into the Afterlife almost hand in hand. Their relations had always been thus. No home could have been more truly knit together than theirs. During the long years of Mrs. Robbins' sickness her husband was her constant attendant and companion. They were an exemplary family in all their relations in the community. A multitude of former neighbors and friends from all the places where they lived testify to the sterling worth and warm goodness of these departed friends."
Here and elsewhere in the cemetery, the peonies are in full bloom right now --- and it looks like they'll be fairly well gone by Memorial Day itself. So if you want to admire them in full bloom, this is the week to drive through.