Today was the special day that our family traveled down to my husband's father's grave site, to leave flowers and a U.S. flag there in respect for his service in the military and for him being an important person in my husband's life.
I'm sorry that I was never able to meet my father-in-law. He passed away when my husband was around 16 years of age. He has been sorely missed by my husband and his family.
I asked my husband if he could share with the girls one important thing he remembers well about his father. My husband knew immediately what he would relate to our girls: Grandpa had a wonderful sense of humor, and there was a lot of laughter found in their home. I thought that was a great memory to share, and I've always known that my husband also shares the gift of humor and laughter.
The cemetery is only located about 30 minutes away from us, but since our trips to that area for family gatherings are usually held in the evenings, when it is dark already, we only get to visit the site about once or twice a year.
Our girls have learned so much from these visits to the cemetery. They've learned about the level of honor and respect that a cemetery deserves. They've learned the right types of attitudes and behaviors about visiting such a location.
They've also now begun to realize the importance of keeping our area's history "alive." They spent a good portion of our time down there brushing away the dried cut grass from flat headstones, and brushing away dirt and dust from some of the upright headstones. They were very concerned that because of inadequate care...and the passing of time...some of the pioneer headstones are now difficult to read due to the encroachment of black moss on the headstones under the trees. They are very interested in learning how to clean off the headstones so that the wording is preserved. This may be something we research as a family and help do occasionally, if the cemetery association is open to this.
After we clean off Grandpa's headstone and some of my husband's aunts' and uncles' graves, we usually wander up the hill and spend some time looking at the pioneer portion of the cemetery.
Even after all these years of visiting the cemetery, I'm always amazed at the number of young babies, children, and women who passed away at such a young age. Oh, I'm not forgetting the men who died young, but there are just so many more women who died early, probably due to childbirth, that I find this so sad.
But today, we were ALL startled by something rather unexpected at the small cemetery!
My husband and I had just finished walking downhill to some of his aunts' and uncles' grave sites, when I realized that I had just walked directly over a large snake...without realizing it.
After we got over our initial surprise, we noticed that its head was not flattened but quite on the "roundish" side. While bull snakes can shake their tail like a rattler, they don't actually have any rattles to shake; it's just a defense mechanism.
As we were driving down the winding country road out of the cemetery, my husband noticed the snake now crossing the road...but it was SO much longer than we originally thought! Hmmm..."Stop the car!" "Daddy, can we look at it?"
So, out of the car we jumped, and took a look at the very long snake...which was actually two bull snakes head to tail, slowly slithering away from the cemetery, trying to cross the dusty gravel road. Did they make it, or didn't they?
That was our adventure for the day. Snakes in a cemetery - not what we really expected to find, especially on a cool, cloudy day. But it made the day a bit more memorable, which is always a good thing.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
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