Friday, May 23, 2008
Five Generations in one place. Or at least the memories. My Mother and I took my children to visit Carnahan Creek, where my grandparents and great grandparents are buried. It was a beautiful Kansas spring day, Jo and M were chewing on grass and hearing us talk about people they never met.
Jo knows that all these greats are up in heaven with Jesus, so the cemetery is to him a sort of full-sized family tree, as we walk through the names and try to describe the connections. The headstones tell their own stories, too. Walter C. Green was a Methodist Minister of the Circuit Rider generation. There is a medal with a horse and a minister near his head. Uncle Merton and Uncle Cecil served in the Army, as one can plainly read.
Not in our family, but near by, are the stones that speak of short lives, big families, and long histories. There are half-filled stones where one can see that someone has been left widowed. The grass is growing, the peonies were full to bursting, and the sun was warm.
I'm not a real big flower placer, but this trip reminds me of the value of visiting the past with the future. It is a time to tell stories, pass on blessings, and warn of curses. It can be a full sized family tree or stark reminder of a life lived alone. The little kids didn't come back with a sense of awe, but that's fine. They will learn and they will know and someday they may return.