Holy Ground

Last week was spent with family. My dad in law passed away and we spent an entire day waiting with Mom for Dad’s homegoing.

My sister texted me as we sat in that nursing home and told me that I was on “holy ground”. Indeed…..it was holy ground. That sacred space between this world and the next. Waiting for Dad to make his way into the arms of the waiting Father.

Last week was an honor and a privilege. It was a celebration and a heart ache. Those days, where time narrowed and focused on the life of one man….my dad in law. Time stood still….the world and it’s big issues were ignored and love and family time consumed us.

Memories were shared. Many heavy sighs were breathed. Tears and laughter mingled at the same time…. Hearts ached for those of us left behind and rejoiced for Dad who journeyed on ahead.

Memories of a man who loved to sing and play harmonica. Memories of a man who tilled the soil and milked cows…a man who was incredibly proud of his military service and a man who loved a good bag of jelly beans. We remembered a man who loved his wife and his family well.

Dad wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for our family and for the life he lived. He left many memories for Mom, his children, grandchildren, family and friends and those memories will be passed along to his great grandchildren.

Looking back on that week brings the realization of what really is important. Living honestly, loving well, building relationships with family and friends and understanding that this life is not about us.

We stood in that cemetery on a beautiful morning. We listened to the pastor remind us that our hope is not in this temporary dwelling place…we saw my mom in law receive the American flag ….we heard the shots echo and the lonely sound of taps played in the distance.

We did not say good-bye as we stood on holy ground. We knew this was instead “till we meet again”. We got to see what a legacy really looks like ….faith….family….and how your life is lived in the time you are given.

Thank you Dad for the lessons you taught…not only in how to live life but how to leave this life for the next. You will be missed…till we meet again.

“You live to die….
you die to live.”
Ruth Fondse

Vacation – Part Two

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Wyoming Landscape

There are days when it feels like you are hours behind before you even get started on the tasks for the day. Today was such a day….Actually the last weeks seems to be running in that same vein.

I finally had time to start mowing the lawn again. It was about 5 days past due, so the grass kind of blew out of the mower in clumps. I do have to admit that pushing a lawn mower is not only a great workout, but it is also a great time for thinking.

As I mowed I did think about playing the chore catch up game and how that ties in with having been on a vacation. Do not get me wrong…I LOVE vacations. For some reason it just seems that the time spent preparing for them is a lot funner than the time spent catching up from taking them. At least when preparing for a vacation there is the anticipation.

I did a bit of pondering on how I prepare and how my husband prepares. My husband usually makes sure to take tools for any mechanical issue that might happen. I am thinking a plier, hammer, and a few other things are probably good. (Pretty sure I am wrong on that one!)

I tend to worry about having enough clothing for every weather event….food for any possibility…and everything that falls in between. If my husband was in charge of packing he would walk out the door with a plastic grocery bag containing a change of underwear and a clean shirt, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a towel.

He would also make sure to pack the Johnny Horton CD so he could belt out the favorite family traveling song, “North to Alaska” while traveling west.

I did pack lighter for our last vacation as I knew we could wash clothes before my husband and I went on the second half of vacation. I call it the second half because our children left on a Sunday to head home and we stayed a few days longer.

We pulled our camper further north (I guess we do head North occasionally) toward Deadwood and Spearfish. We decided we would again do dispersed camping. We found out about this a couple years ago and really liked it.

The national forestry has Motor Vehicle Use Maps that are available and those maps show where you can camp for free.  Of course you are on your own…no water…no electric. You also often camp on a logging road. It did make it interesting watching the trucks go past with all those logs.

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Bridal Veil Falls 

On the second half of our vacation we spent time driving through Spearfish Canyon, It is a beautiful drive any time of the year. Bridal Veil falls is always beautiful and the water in the stream is always cold enough to make your feet go numb if you choose to wade in it to cool off. We had thought of hiking to a place called the Devil’s Bathtub to swim; but after freezing our feet we were reluctant to freeze our entire body.

Time was spent in Deadwood watching the reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill by Jack McCall. There is a lot of history in those towns that are in the Black Hills.

We also decided we needed to do a day trip to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. It had been 25 years since we had been there and it did not disappoint. (We also decided that at our age we probably should not wait 25 years again before we go see stuff!) As we hiked around the tower we ended up talking to a couple who were there with their 10 year old grandson.

We found out how small this world really is…..they were the in-laws of a gal who was raised in the same town as us and had attended the same church as us!

Our entire week of vacation…with our kids and with just the two of us was a wonderful time of reconnecting. It was great, to just spend time and be together.

My husband I have come to realize that time and vacations spent with those you love are well worth the investment. At the end of the day; or the end of a life; it does not matter how much money you made. It does not matter what position you held in the company. It does not matter if you never missed a day of work…..what matters is the relationships you leave behind and the legacy that is your family and friends.

“Nobody ever has,
“He was a good worker”

written on his tombstone.”
John S. (aka~my dad)

 

 

 

Klondike, Iowa

Tree Klondike

I spent my day making, baking and decorating sheet cakes for a wedding. So I am probably slacking off and going to treat you to some photos and history of an area that my husband and I have enjoyed for our entire dating and married life.

My post of June 19, 2016 had a photo of a foundation at the site of the town of Klondike, IA.It is an area I love, as the scenery is beautiful and it is a great place to go fishing.

One of the most distinctive things that has remained unchanged over the years is the bridge that spans the Big Sioux River. Vehicles no longer travel over this bridge as a concrete one was built years ago.  The old one used to get flooded over on a regular basis in the spring.

Old Klondike Bridge

Up until about 4-5 years ago this area also had a dam that used to channel the water for the grain mill had been on the Iowa side of the river.

Since that time they have taken out the dam and replaced it with a series of rapids so that people who like to kayak can do so without portaging around it. As I am not a kayaker I kind of miss the dam and the sound of the rushing water and the spray of the water as it poured over the dam.

Klondike Rapids

For me the mill site is probably the most fascinating.  I remember as a teen there were still remnants of the large wooden structure that used to stand on the foundations. Back then there really wasn’t a historical society in the county so nothing was done to preserve it and it eventually fell apart.

There are some foundations left; but some were removed when the rapids were made. It is interesting (to me) to try figure out how it all used to look.

There are still a couple families that call Klondike home. Many of the stories of Klondike are lost to history. There are some stories that I have no idea if they are based in fact…..such as the one about Lawrence Welk playing there with his band.

I do wonder what those early pioneers were like.  The ones who settled at Klondike, built the dam, built the mill, built stores that have long since been demolished and lived their lives next to the river…..what would they think if they saw it now?  Why did the mill quit? Why did this small town go the way of so many small towns? Is all progress really progress?

I know I cannot stop time but it would sure be interesting to be able to look back and know what drove them. I think they probably had the same hopes, dreams and fears we do now.   I have a feeling it is the love of families, wanting a better life, the need to make a difference, faith and maybe wanting to leave a legacy.

We may not know who they were but the fact that it still leaves us wondering and questioning; is perhaps a legacy in itself.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren
is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life,
but rather a legacy of character and faith.
Billy Graham

Special thanks to my son Joe who took the black and white and sepia toned pics back in 2008.