My apologies to those of you who are new to my blog and tuned in for the first time only to be bombarded by my last two over-long over-wrought posts. Now that I've exorcised that particular bee from my bonnet, I feel much better! Let me just add a teeny postscript to what I said before:
1. There are many women of my acquaintance who actually DO possess an enviable level of natural beauty and who are quite lovely with minimal to no grooming.
2. There are also those (not me) who exude personal style with total ease. They dress with flair without spending hours agonizing over how to achieve their look. This is not something I disparage, but something I admire.
Well, I may have forfeited my title of World's Least Spontaneous Person by accompanying my family on a trip requiring the purchase of airline tickets that was planned only a week in advance! Pathetic, really, what qualifies as spontaneity in my world.
We spent the Memorial Day weekend at Shaun's folk's house, located on the family tree farm off the highway that runs from Portland to the coast. Shaun's sister and brother-in-law and their baby were up from So Cal for a visit, so we decided it would be a perfect time to go see everyone. The boys got to do the things that make life for boys worth living (i.e. throw rocks in the river and ride the tractor with Grandpa) and I got the opportunity to participate in a Jensen family tradition that I'd always heard about.
On Monday morning we headed to the Vernonia cemetery to meet up with Shaun's grandparents and "put flowers on the graves." If you haven't ever been to Vernonia, let me just say that it is about one of the smallest towns that I've ever been to that is recognizable as such. The cemetery is very lovely, as is everything in that lush green neck of the Oregon woods. Shaun's mom cut peonies, snowballs, and iris from her garden to place at the graves of her father's parents and her brother.
I was amazed to see that almost every grave was adorned with fresh flowers. As we walked among the headstones, Shaun's grandpa pointed out the people he'd known, worked with, been a friend or neighbor to. I thought of all the people who had brought the flowers and envied their connection to a particular place and the continuity it provided. I don't know the whereabouts of a single one of my forebears, physically or metaphysically :), and it makes me sad that the scatteredness of even my immediate family means we will never have the opportunity of reconnecting with those who have gone before by making a tradition of visiting their graves.
It was special for me to bring Nels to the resting place of the men who inspired his name: Shaun's great-grandfather Niels and Shaun's uncle, whose middle name was Nels after his grandfather. Not that we tried explaining it to OUR little Nels. He is a very sensitive and perceptive little guy, but being at a graveyard was confusing enough for him as it was. Though we've discussed death with him a very little bit, we weren't quite prepared, as Shaun put it, to explain body-soul duality. So when Nels asked "What's a grave?" on the car ride over, I answered that it is a place where we celebrate someone we love who has died. Good enough.
All in all, we had a lovely long weekend. The kids and I were all varying degrees of sick, so we did a lot of lolling about. The adventure was extended a bit on our return flight when the left engine of the airplane was deemed "broken." Fortunately this was determined before we left the ground. We de-planed with much grumbling of passengers, but another plane was available (phew! does ANYone ever want to get back on the plane they just fixed?) and we were only delayed about an hour or so. We actually got a lot of sympathetic looks as it was bedtime and our children looked tired.
So here we are back in Boise and all four of us in shorts this evening. Shaun is tan from cycling, but if only we could somehow harvest the power of the leg pallor of the rest of us...well, I don't know. We could change the world.