Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Well, I did it again, I let a month or more go by without an update. It ends NOW. We did this TODAY!

It's Memorial Day! Growing up as a Navy Brat (which is awesome by the way, I'm sorry if you didn't get to be one :) ) we always lived far away from family (not so awesome, but it means you always know where your going on vacation!). Still I have a few memories of being in Utah on Memorial Day, specifically being in Cache Valley at Grandma Turner's house. She would bring out a few mason jars and we would pick flowers from her yard, there was always an abundance of flowers in grandma's yard around Memorial Day. Then we took those flowers up the the Logan Cemetery, where my Grandfather was buried near his parents, and also where my grandmother's parents were buried.

Last year I felt like I wanted my children to have those kinds of memories. I wanted Memorial Day to be about remembering our Family, because OUR Family, the Ken and Kate Wheeler family, wouldn't even exist if it weren't for our parents and grandparents and all of our loved ones came before us. I want my children to feel a connection to their ancestors. So last year we went to the Murray City Cemetery, where my mother's parents are buried, and also my cousin Matt. After we left our flowers, which we had gathered from our yard and after we explained to the boys who was buried there and why we were visiting, we went to a nearby park and played for a while, then on the way home we picked up lunch and Slurpees. And this year, we made it a TRADITION!

Since our grandparents are buried in four different locations we decided that as part of our tradition we would make a trip to visit one set each year on Memorial Day. Last year we visited my Maternal Grandparents, Wayne and Mildred Dowdle. This year we went to the Provo City Cemetery and visited the graves of Ken's Maternal Grandparents, A. Smith and Afton Bernice Pond.

When we arrived little B found this BIG log. He was quite impressed with it's size and he and J speculated about why it was there and how it had gotten into a big dirt field. I thought his Grandpa Turner would be glad to know that his grandsons love large pieces of wood, wherever they may be found.

Thanks to we were able to easily locate the grave site of Great Grandma and Grandpa Pond.
 This year we brought some flowers, though our flowers haven't really bloomed yet, so we only had one purple iris with some mint added for greenery. We were not the first visitor- there were plenty of pretty flowers. This year we added to our tradition, bringing stones to leave on our loved ones headstones. I don't know why, but I found my self thinking about this, stones left on graves, on top of tombstones or headstones. To the best of my knowledge it was a Jewish tradition, but since I kept thinking about it when I would think about this years Memorial Day trip, I decided to do an Internet search and learn some more. What I found was that no one is really quite sure how the practice got started, BUT for most people it meant that you had come to honor your beloved ancestor by visiting their grave, and you leave the stone as a token of remembrance. And so that is what it will mean for our family as well.
 We painted our rocks, each one has a little flower on it (J's flower looks more like a big blue blob and B's is a similar red blob, but the boys and I, and Grandma and Grandpa Pond all know that they are flowers, and that's what counts). J arranged them on the headstone.

 After our visit at the cemetery we ate a picnic lunch in Provo City's Pioneer Park. 
 Then we played on the playground!
The baby discovered that swings are really fun. She was quite hesitant for the first few minutes, but she never fell out! And eventually she even started to smile a lot!
 On our way home we stopped by the 7 Eleven and everyone over a year old got a Slurpee. It was a grand day. Next year, we will head north!

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