Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013--Moreland, Idaho: Memorial Day

Memorial Day flag

Every year, for a fundraiser, the scouts rent United States flags to the members of our congregation.  It costs $45 for a year and the scouts take care of the flags and fly them in our yard on flag waving holidays and take them down again.  They store them for the next holiday.

We got up and got ready on Memorial Day to go to the Moreland Cemetery to pay our respects to our deceased ancestors.  Maybe it was how I grew up, always getting ready to open a show at the Playmill around this time of year, but I never really cared to visit cemeteries on Memorial Day.  That changed about five and a half years ago when my father passed away.  Now it seems more important, more immediate. 

I enjoy visiting the cemetery now.  Some years it's the only time I get to see some of my relatives.  We meet as an extended family and spend an hour or two visiting and reliving old memories.  Usually it's a little chilly and windy, so we always bring good outer clothes in case.

The Moreland Cemetery is an interesting place.  Moreland is a very small town situated near Blackfoot, Idaho.  The Cemetery isn't very big.  When Chimene and I were first married, we were talking to her Grandmother about the fact that my parents had already purchased a plot in the Moreland Cemetery and she said that was where her husband was buried and where she was going to be buried.  Small world.  Turns out that Chimene's grandmother and my grandmother were very good friends growing up.

Fast forward to last year, and when we were wandering about we found a tombstone that belonged to members of my son-in-law, Nick's family.  Pretty weird, huh?

For the first time ever, we got to the cemetery first.  We were there about twenty minutes before any of the other family showed up.  Nick and Cynthia and the boys were the next ones to arrive, and then people started showing up.  We placed our flowers on Dad's stone and on Chimene's grandparent's stone and then we started visiting with the relatives.

Dad's headstone.  My kids think it's creepy to have Grandma's name on it already

The back of Dad's headstone.  My kids think it's creepy that my name is on the back of it.

Grandma and Grandpa's headstone.  I knew her, I never knew him

Aunt Fern and Uncle Cleo's stone.

My cousin, Joe's headstone

Aunt Lorna and Uncle Rex's headstone.  Uncle Rex is still with us.

Nick's relatives

The burial plot for Nick's relatives

Chimene's grandpa and grandma's headstone. 

The family plot of the England family, my direct ancestors

My great great grandfather's marker

My great grandfather's headstone.  Everyone called him Granddad England

First we all paid our respects to our dead, then we commenced enjoying the company of our living.  We visited and posed for pictures and visited some more.  I tried to get photos of everyone, but I think I may have missed a few.  It's always good to see my relatives.

Renee, Yvonne, Uncle Rex and Paula

Kay, Chimene, Jolene and granddaughter and Marie

Bruce, Mom and Ferron

My cousins, Ben and Bill

Nick and Cynthia, Allison and Richard

Paula, the bald one, Bruce and Jolene

A cousins shot with Uncle Rex and Mom

Chimene and I and our three boys still living at home

I thought I had more and better pictures of my extended family.  I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get any pictures of Pam and Lela and Bonnie.  I love my family, my whole family.  Life gets in the way and we sometimes need Memorial Day to remember to get together.  All of us are busy and actively engaged in good causes so it's nice to be able to come together to remember.

We were the first to arrive and the last to leave.  Before we left, I read a poem over Dad's grave.  It was one of his favorites that he had read to me a million times.  I read it from his very favorite book, Pack Up Your Troubles by Ted Malone.  It was a book that was given to him by his mother on the eve of his entrance to World War II.  He read the book until he nearly wore the words off the page.  It's currently held together with tape, and many of the pages are just sitting loose in the proper order.  This was a book that was loved.  I read him a few of his favorite poems just before he died, then I read them again at his funeral.  Mom gave me the book the first Christmas after he passed away.  I bring it to the cemetery each year and sometimes I read to him from it.

Me, wearing Dad's jacket, reading Which Are You from Dad's favorite book of poetry 

We drove around Moreland for a little while to see if we could find Mom and Dad's house when they lived there.  We only found it because Mom said it had been painted an awful yellow color.  It was easy to spot.  We then found a plaque that told of the founding of Moreland, Idaho.  Chimene was worried about what the people inside were thinking when a green van pulled up and started shooting pictures of their house.  I drove away before they could investigate.

The old homestead

The founding of Moreland, Idaho

Of course no trip to Moreland would be complete without a stop at the rest area at Hell's Half Acre Lava Flow, and the obligatory rolling down the hill.

Garrett rolling



Rhys rolling



Finally, we re-assembled at our home and had a birthday dinner and cake and ice cream for our oldest daughter, Cynthia.  She turned 28 on Memorial Day this year.  I took a few pictures in a darkened room with just the light of the candles to illuminate.  28 candles put out a lot of light.  I didn't need a flash!

Cynthia illuminated only by birthday candlelight
It was a very good day.