Sunday, June 22, 2008
We're home after an emotional weekend. On one of the most beautiful June days I've ever seen, we celebrated my Grandma Gie and buried her ashes in the cemetery right next to my Grandpa Ginny. He's been gone 18 years and she missed him terribly. Now they are walking through the warm Iowa prairies together with three of their children by their side.
She was born and raised a Catholic who had the nerve to fall in love with a Baptist. Neither family supported the marriage, and both congregations shunned them. So the Methodist minister rode out to the farm in the 1930's and said they were welcome at his church. Therefore my mother was raised Methodist. All of her brothers married Catholic women, so we now have a family divided right smack down the middle between Liberal Protestants and Conservative Catholics. But we love each other all the same.
At her graveside I read an excerpt from "And what is so rare as a day in June?" by James Russell Lowell. One of her favorites. She could recite the entire text.
After the burial, we retired to my Uncle Sam's vacation cabin in the woods for cards, and camaraderie around the campfire stocked with Iowa white oak. This cabin isn't what you might expect - it's smack in the middle of the woods and used mostly for hunting. There is no lake, no beach, no dock, etc. Just a large iron bathtub in the yard where he cooks up a pig now and then. He left the next morning to wait for five feet of flood waters to leave his business and begin the clean up.
That night, my siblings, kids, spouses, etc gathered on my brother's porch to watch the sun set perfectly over the valley of Decorah, IA on the longest day of the year. I haven't yet cried for my Grandma. Instead I feel a profound sense of peace. She went home, and home is where she wanted to be.
This is what life is about: sunsets, children, loving old folks, celebrating the little moments, Iowa white oak in a campfire, a nice glass of wine, holding your spouse's hand, walking through prairies, laughing with loved ones, breaking bread together, and going home.