Brace yourselves; this post is a bit of a long, winding road.
Today was Memorial Day in the U.S.; its purpose is very much like Remembrance Day in other countries. We remember those who have lost their lives fighting for our country and our freedom.
Veterans hand out fake poppies outside of businesses…I like that…it gives me a chance to say “thank you”:
Memorial Day (to some) has also become a day to pay tribute to anyone that has passed away and is missed.
This day (and Veterans Day) remind me the most of my Grandpa Bob…my Dad’s father. I was a child when he passed away, but there are things about him that I know and some things that I just remember (in no particular order):
He served our country in World War II and was injured; he walked with a cane because of this. He was a farmer. He was mayor of my hometown the year I was born. He was practical and wise and respected. He married a kind and beautiful woman. They had five children together. He smoked a pipe…I love the smell of pipe tobacco to this day…it may have been ‘cherry Cavendish‘. He wore his uniform and marched in parades with other veterans (this was especially exciting when I was a kid; it meant that he cared a great deal for his country and was proud…so I was too). It meant the world to him when my little brother, Dan, would salute him…I loved that.
So, on this day, I remember him and I thank him and all the friends he lost during that war and all the others who have fought and died for this country.
For the international readers: Many Americans celebrate this day (or the weekend) by spending time with family and friends, usually by way of grilling and barbecuing, possibly drinking beer, hiking, swimming, and generally having fun. It is the unofficial start of summer.
We celebrated by driving to my husband’s hometown to visit and spend time with family. It’s about a 2 and a 1/2 hour drive through the Rocky Mountains with some really beautiful views.
It was a little difficult to properly capture the mountains with a phone camera while driving along, but I did my best.
For those that have never been to the Rockies in Colorado: The mountains that still have snow are at a high altitude. Around here they are called “Fourteeners” because they’re over 14,000 feet (4.26km) above sea level. The highway is on level(ish) land and is around 6,000-8,000 feet (2.1 km) above sea level.
Ignore the power lines in this one…I had to get some forest pictures. I love trees.
I took all three of my current knitting projects with me, and on the way down I worked on the Penelope Vest for Tilly.
Tilly is 6, but I’m knitting the smallest size (3-4), and I’m using yarn that I don’t have enough of…this is going to turn out well, I’m sure of it. I found the yarn at a discount store (Tuesday Morning…that’s the name of the store) for a very discounted price…go figure. If this doesn’t turn out to fit Tilly I’ll just find someone smaller.
I worked on sock #2 a little when we got there, but mostly ignored the knitting in favor of eating, visiting, going to church, and climbing a small mountain.
We stayed at Uncle Roger and Aunt Carol’s house. They’ve recently returned from Moscow, and I’m pretty happy about that. I love these two. I feel like I get the best of them…hospitality, warmth, kindness, humor…they’ve also raised some pretty incredible kids.
To top it all off, they are blog fans. Uncle Roger even says he started reading this blog without knowing who was writing it…he started liking it honestly and is thusly a “true fan.” :) I love it.
Everybody got to hold Corrie’s little Lena,
Tilly enjoyed some land-boating, and there was basketball,
and, miracle of all miracles, my indoorsy, video game playing, 9-year-old climbed up an entire small mountain and back down…mostly by way of steep, rocky incline and not by the road.
Since we were driving to the mountains, and the husband and I have been meaning to take the kids camping, we decided it would be a good opportunity for a camping trial run. We decided this knowing that it was supposed to be cold and rainy. We set up our tent in Carol and Roger’s back yard (with the help of Uncle Roger) in the rain (we were going for an accurate camping experience). We learned a few things:
- our marriage is strong enough to survive putting up a tent in the cold rain
- our tent is huge
- our tent kept us dry throughout a night of never-ending rain…with a tarp over the top
- make sure you have plenty of blankets (if it is cold and raining and you are in a mountain town)
- don’t forget your socks
- if you are 30-somethings, padding is a very good idea…remember that for next time
- staying awake for half the night because you are too cold and the ground is too hard will make you so tired that by morning those things will no longer matter and sleeping will be possible once again
In Aunt Carol’s words, it was a “character building” night.
It was a great weekend. I’m gonna go knit something.
Happy Memorial Day!
P.S. to my family: Miss you guys and love you!