Monday, March 28, 2011

Pierson and Maylin on the front porch of the funeral home
Typically when we go to Ohio we stay with one of my Aunts or cousins... This time however all the houses were overloaded! Family was coming in from all over the Eastern seaboard. (From Maine, Georgia, and the Carolina's). This time Mom, Adam, the kids and I stayed at the funeral home... Yep that is right... the funeral home. Well actually it is a home beside the funeral home, separated only by a parking lot. Sounds a little creepy, but it actually was very nice. This funeral home built this house for out-of-town families. They open it up free of cost! We had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and a breakfast area. It was very nice. The mother of the 'owner' lives downstairs and takes care of the house and quests. I had never heard of such a thing. But it worked out wonderfully and I (scaredy-cat-me) never gave sleeping at the funeral home a second thought!
Grandpa died chopping the tree this piece of wood came from.  These were the boots he was wearing and the wedges and sledge hammer he was using to do it. It makes me tired thinking about chopping down a small tree. He was almost 93 and chopping up a LARGE tree! 
family gathering together
the great grand children
the grand children
the whole family
The funeral was beautiful. They say at funerals everyone sounds like a wonderful person. At those times we all chose to remember the good in people and hold onto those memories. We try and honor the person who has left us and remember nothing but the good in them. (Does that sound terrible?) To me Grandpa's funeral was different. Not because anyone said anything negative about him, but because everything they were saying was true AND there was nothing else to say. Nothing was being left out. He was a pure good man. Everyone who knew him respected him and loved him.
The grave side service was chilling.
  Grandpa was a Marine.  He proudly served our country in the Pacific during WWII.  Seeing the flag drapped over his coffin made me proud of the man my Grandfather was. Because he was a soldier there were men in uniform on the edge of the burial plot with their rifles. One of the men stepped out of line so that Grandpa's Great Grandson in full Army dress, could step in.  I have heard taps played before. I have heard a 21 gun salute before. But never have I heard them in honor of someone I was grieving for. The air was crisp and clear. The sounds struck sharply in my soul. 
The flag was folded and given to the oldest living child of Grandpa. It was surreal. For a moment it seemed like a scene out of a movie. As reality hit tears fell down my cheeks. It was over. The end of an era. The man who had protected our country and protected his family with the same passion was gone. 
After the funeral my aunt's suggested we all go back to the farm and spend the evening together. It was a blessing to be back on the farm and have the entire family together. (Something that may never happen again.) We walked the land, played kickball, ate cookies 'till we were sick, sat in the kitchen and soaked in the life of my grandparents. It was a perfect day.
Many of us took a walk back to the creek to see the tree Grandpa was chopping up. He just couldn't stand it laying across the creek. He had broken it up a good bit and loaded some of it in to the trailer. My uncle laid flowers where he sat down for the final time. Just like the flowers he was bold and gentle. He was a bright spot in everyone's life.
Because we were already back near the footbridge the Grandkids and Great Grandkids couldn't resist another crossing. How could a simple telephone pole with a 2x10 on top be such a center piece for all of us? Probably because every time we walked the farm Grandpa was with us and he crossed that bridge with us too. Never was there a time he was too busy to take a walk with any of us. 
Although I do specifically remember one time Grandpa wasn't with us while we were crossing the bridge. We snuck back there to play in the mossy creek only to find ourselves surrounded by cows. They were on either side of the bridge and below us in the creek. We stood in fear on that bridge for what seemed like hours until Grandpa drove back there looking for us. ;) Was he angry?  Nope... he just grinned told us to get in the back of the truck. We all anxiously waited to "hear it" when we got back but as far as I can remember there was never another word said about it. Did we learn our lesson? ...YEP!

The Great's and the Great Great's lined up according to age on the "leaning tree". 

The tree house Grandpa built for his Great Grandchildren.
The walk around the well-kept trails were good for my soul. Not only was it fun sharing memories with cousins and teaching Pierson and Maylin about the way things used to be, but it was closure. Closure of a life well lived.
The unturnned cornfields. 
Maylin found a new gymnastics apparatus... his name is Rusty. (The oldest of the grandchildren.) For 30 some years Rusty was the only male grandchild... Man did he tease us. He is the reason I was called "fountain head" as a child. :)
Adam "getting bit" by the coyote. Everyone has a coyote in their kitchen right? 

The canoe's. We spent hours paddling around Grandpa's pond as kids. He would wave us back with a grin as we unwillingly went round and round in circles. 
The "OWL". So many chocolate crinkles or snicker-doodle cookies were snuck from that cookie jar!
 One of his neatly kept wood piles. I always wanted to climb these but I knew better!
The glass pieces in the window seal. I love how the light shines on them. That blue piece just makes me happy!
His untouched wagon full of wood. 
The barn is just shy of being a hardware store. His organization was amazing. 
The gloves he was wearing. 
He was 92 and still driving wedges into a tree. This piece had three wedge marks in it.  It makes my back hurt to think about splitting this piece of wood! To Grandpa it was just another days work. 

As the sun began to set on the kickball game so was our time on the farm. If I shut my eyes I can still hear the laughter and squeals of the game. I can smell the clean crisp air. I can see the adults scattered about the house  remembering days past. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful man's life.
As we walk down the road of life may his legacy live on in those of us who were fortunate enough to call him ours.
Dad had given Grandma and Grandpa a photograph of their house signed with this caption.
Many are the shelters that cover one's head, but only one can be called "Home".
Grandpa was "Home". 
That home will be sorely missed. 


Jordan Carl said...

Really great post Traci. I really liked it. Loved all the pictures, especially the one of the "greats" on the leaning tree! I think you captured a picture of about every big "landmark" on the farm.

Kristi said...

Grandpa really was "home." You did a great job capturing who he was and how he made us all feel ~ safe, secure and loved. As if we were home.

And through the tears in my eyes as I read this, I did laugh about the cow story...

Amy Murphy said...

I LOVE the picture of all the grandkids on the tree. How neat!
I hope you are comforted through this hard time.

Larry and Carol said...

Beautiful post, Traci XO's

Chris and Robyn said...

Simply beautiful.
Robyn :-)

Lindy said...

I love this post. How wonderful that your grandfather lived independently at home doing what he loved.