I'm back! this has been a fun week, with Serena here. It has been a very wonderful time, she has matured into a friend, as well as a daughter.
Here are Nathan and Kim as they left last Sunday.
This is something that has been nagging on several of us since Uncle Joe died. Joe was a gentle, kind man, who loved people. When we had a family reunion he "borrowed" Serena to practice being a grandfather, as Jeremy was going to come almost as soon as the reunion was over. Howard and I have fond memories of Joe carrying a big tree branch for the fire, with Serena holding the tip "he'ping Unca Joe" get ready for the fire -- and anything else Jor could think to do as "Grandparent training. He and Ivadell were loving presences in our children's lives, coming for Confirmation, Graduation, and just letting our kids KNOW that they cared. When he died of an abdominal aneurysm, we ached. Nathan and Kim, Annette and our parents were able to make it to the funeral, Serena, Howard and I weren't. While Serena was here, we went to the family cemetery. Not really to visit Joe, because he isn't there. But to make a statement. And we fulfilled a promise to ourselves. The man who took time out, on his way to Serena's college graduation to visit the John Deere museum needed something to commemorate some of the things that made him JOE! There was a purchase of some small toy John Deere tractors. They were then quietly glued to the concrete surrounding his headstone. This was NOT meant to deface his grave, but to acknowledge the wonderful man we knew. I had mentioned this desire to Ivadell, who thought it was a great idea when I brought it up.
On Tuesday, when we went to the family cemetery, we did not contact anyone from the church to let us in. Yet, in the wonderful way that God has, my Grandmother's oldest brother's oldest grandson had felt the need to come to the church that day with his wife. We saw his wife, and asked for permission to go into the church. When we explained who we were, she commented, "I don't know anyone else who has a right." We spent over an hour with them, going through the church and talking about family. I learned all sorts of interesting things -- his mother's wedding reception was held in Iowa in the early 1900s -- with -- get this! A SIT-DOWN reception at the farm-house for 125! Think of this! Iowa! In January! Now, think about this! Even feeding field-hands (something my grandmother did) you fed 25-40. Where did they PUT that many people! Not to mention the fact that they were cooking on woodstoves. How did they DO this in a farm-house in COLD Iowa in the middle of January! All of the people would have come by horse and carriage. So, not only did they have the logistics of the FOOD, they also had the horses to take into consideration! The mind BOGGLES!
I have to admit that I had problems with the generational shift. His grandfather was my grandmother's oldest brother. There was really a generation in age between them. Yet he is younger than my father. Serena had to kindly put it in words of one (or so) syllables for me to catch that he is not of my father's generation, but really mine, even though he is older than all of my cousins of this generation. Am I boggling you too?
But think, he and his wife almost didn't come to church that Tuesday to remove a tree from the grounds. They had thought to go Monday or Wednesday. But, they decided to go Tuesday, when May's grand-daughter and great-granddaughter. were there. Thank you Charles and Ruth!
Then we went to Ivadell's and spent some quality time with a favorite Aunt!