The cleanup, which is usually a big annual event for the McCloud Alumni, the McCloud Garden Club and the McCloud Cemetery Association had to be downsized due to CDC restrictions.

Despite McCloud’s annual Memorial Day services being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the McCloud Cemetery Association still held their annual cleanup day. This event always falls on the Saturday prior to Memorial Day.

The cleanup, which is usually a big annual event for the McCloud Alumni, the McCloud Garden Club and the McCloud Cemetery Association had to be downsized due to CDC restrictions.

Begun in the early 2000s, the cleanup draws McCloud High School graduates from all over the North State, but it was not advertised this year.

“It was kind of unusual this year. We didn’t even know if we were going to have it,” said McCloud Cemetery Association President Milt Shrader. “We didn’t advertise it this year because of the virus. We had about a dozen people volunteer anyway.”

Usually, there are tables set up for the McCloud Garden Club’s homemade cookies and pastries while the McCloud Alumni barbecues hotdogs after the cleanup. It tends to be a get-together were McCloud alumni visit with old classmates, sharing stories of the old days. But in keeping with social distancing, very few people living outside of McCloud attended. There was no barbecue.

Shrader said, “This year the Deadwood Conservation Camp came for two days to do the harder work instead of just one day. And they cleaned up a lot. It made it easier for us this year.”

Though the work was scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m., people like Yvonne Wilson and Ron Berryman started earlier. And a few, like Brad Eslinger, stayed longer.

Eslinger, who now lives in Mount Shasta, usually doesn’t make it to the annual cleanup because of a conflict in events, so he has been coming to clean up the McCloud Cemetery three times a week for the past three years “as a community service.”

A 1973 McCloud graduate, this is Eslinger’s first alumni cleanup because the other events he generally attends were canceled.

There was still some catching up and socializing, and now the cemetery grounds look neat and clean with the pine needles and old plastic flowers gone.

Nancy White, who participates each year said, “It’s a wonderful thing that we do this. I am coming back on Memorial Day to clean my parents’ resting place.”