Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful # 15 - the Great River Road

Thankful # 15 - the Great River Road

 The part that holds value to me is between Hamilton and Nauvoo, IL.  It is family, Thanksgiving, Christmas, family reunions, cousins, the bakery and fudge on my mom's side of the family.  It is Tastee Freese, the Palmyra pool, the railroad tracks (now gone) behind Grandma & Grandpa's house, sleepovers with Kristy, Susie and Jenny, and the Cabbage Patch Kid that lives on a shelf in my boys' room on my dad's side of the family.

Today, it was Aunt Virginia's visitation and funeral.  Sad, but a blessing as well.

Becky, my sister, and Dave, my brother, gathered at the church.  It's not easy getting the 3 of us together anymore, with our 3 spouses, 8 kids, and 5 jobs across 500 miles.  It was so good to hang together for a bit.  It was a wonderful time to spend with my 4 cousins and their 3 kids.  But they were not real interested in pics at their mom's funeral.  Totally understandable.  They did take a family pic for the annual Christmas card.

Uncle Lloyd's memorial bench outside the Methodist church in Nauvoo.   Virginia had Alzheimers, and had been in a nursing home for several years.  While she was there, Lloyd developed liver cancer and passed away.

. While we were in that neck of the woods, we stopped to see my dad's family an hour south of Nauvoo.  I found Grandma and Grandpa.

 And a kiss left for Howard and Georgia.  Howard and Grandma were siblings.  If I remember correctly, I ended up with a recliner with wooden spindles on the side that was Georgia's.  It would have been my living room recliner when Evan was a baby.  I think my church has (or maybe it's had by now) it.

Marilyn is Howard and Georgia's only daughter.  All three stones are together, so an easy find for those of us who only make cemetery pilgrimages every 5-10 years.

And the cousins, Susan and Kristy.  We are cousins twice removed, I think, but nobody ever told us that.  Their mom and my dad are first cousins.  Jenny was killed in a car crash in May of 1999.  My daughter was going to be named Elizabeth, a middle name she and I both share.  Tom laughed but agreed to it when we were just dating.

I also got to see Jeanne Beth, a first cousin, bud didn't snap any pics of the two of us.  That only leaves Ken in Kentucky as the only first cousin we didn't see that weekend.

I love God's beauty in nature, and while the trees were brown and the sky was gray, it is still some of the prettiest road I have driven.  And the family it represents is priceless.

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