Before the traditional gathering of the Ralphs clan in Ferron, our family went down a day or two early. And the boys helped Grandpa feed the horses, dig in the dirt, water the "Crick" pasture, check out the tractor and feed the horses again.
And then everyone else came. I love Memorial Day weekend because we get to see aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and great aunts and relatives we are close to, but I don't quite know what the connection is called. The last few years, since Mom and Dad moved to Ferron, we have done alot of sight seeing in Emery county. Sight seeing? Yep. What beautiful things to see! I love that the history of the land is written right in front of you in the great, gaping canyons, or the rounded hills in the distance, or the petroglyphs and rock paintings, or the dinosaur footprints to be found. This year we went out on the desert east of Ferron to do some exploring. Davis and Madison tried their hand at fishing . . . and were successful enough to keep doing for quite some time. No fish were caught, but the casting was great :) We also spent some time up at Wrigley's Reservoir doing some actual fishing. Still, no fish caught for us.
And then, Sunday afternoon, the yearly tradition of placing flowers on the family graves in Ferron, Orangville, and Mullen (if we get time). This has been a part of my life for as long as I remember, so it is particularly touching to take part in it with my own children. I remember being a teenager and helping the aunts and Uncle Stew cut fresh flowers from Grandma Elaine's lilacs and irisis and "snowballs." Then we would pull out the green foam and the old while flower baskets and cut and trim and arrange flowers for the graves. Aunt Louise and Aunt Ann and family would bring down dozens of mums for those a little farther back in the genealogy. The kids were in charge of handing the clipped coat hangers to the men who anchored all baskets and to carry water buckets and dutifully water where they were directed. We would then go visit the Orangeville cemetery, where we were joined by the Peacocks.
I remember one of the first times we visited the Mullen cemetery. Mom thought it was hilarious when she realized that the grass clipping from mowing the lawns the day before were to cover the graves there. But it is a very old, rural cemetery, with no grass and the bright green layer on the graves of our relatives was the way they were remembered.
Each year there are more and more in the next generation. Yet, those special traditions continue to tie us to our ancestors. Every year Dad walks us through the cemeteries, telling us about the families and there histories and every year now we try to remember all we can because some day, it will be our turn to tell our children. This year, as I looked at my pictures, I realized that I have a picture of Davis carrying a water bucket and Noah helping Uncle Robin carry the mums. The circle continues to turn. How blessed we are.