Yesterday I attended my uncle's celebration of life service. My cousins and I have decided that we need to plan a get-together again soon where the requirement is that everyone show up alive. (I think that is known as a family reunion?!)
Though a death prompted this weekend's gathering, it was so nice to see my aunt and cousins--relatives I hadn't seen since my grandmother's service several years ago.
1. I'm thankful for the feeling of home. Returning to the greenery of Oregon always does my soul good, and this time I also got to go over the mountain pass to Central Oregon.
2. I'm thankful for the fond memories I have of traveling that route as a child, as "over the river and through the wood, to grandmother's house we go."
|Photo: Mt. Washington rises above the evergreens
|Photo: Black Butte
|Photo: The Three Sisters (Faith, Hope, and Charity)
|Photo: Snowy Mt. Jefferson peaks up behind Smith Rocks
|Photo: Sunset behind a pine tree and mountain
3. I'm thankful for my uncle Bud. I'll let my dad introduce you to him. Dad titled this tribute, "My Big Little Brother."
Bud was one of the most famous people in out town of Sisters, Oregon. Bud knew everyone and everyone knew and loved Bud. A round boy, covered with freckles, topped with orange hair, and possessing an infectious grin accented with a joyful laugh.
As an older brother, it was expected that I would look after Bud, keep his out of trouble, teach him the ropes, etc. None of this was necessary because the town adopted Bed as their own. I was quickly relegated to the obscure role of Buddy's big brother.
I don't remember exactly when my little brother became my big brother physically, nor do I remember the moment I realized I was Dad's second smartest kid. Bud just floated through life with little noticeable effort, collecting friends, helping people, seemingly just enjoying himself, others, and life.
Bud affected an aw-shucks, red-necked demeanor to hide his intelligent mind and loving nature. His love of reading, especially the works of Michener, was a source of enjoyment. He liked to watch drag racing, talk about cars, politics, the old days of Sisters, and philosophy.
He and his bride, Ellen, spent considerable time traveling in the Southwestern states and learning the Native American history and geology of the region.
Bud left this world today and has left a hole in the lives of his friends and family, each of us wishing we would have spent more time basking in the warmth that was my brother.
|Photo: Uncle Bud, Grandma, and Dad circa 1984
4. I'm thankful for my cousins. Bud's oldest daughters and I played together when we were little girls, and I always enjoy times when we can reconnect. I enjoy spending time with my other cousins, too.
|Photo: One of my cousins looks on in awe at my other cousin and me (a re-creation of an old photo).
5. I'm thankful for games, food, and good times. After the memorial service, we enjoyed lunch and a rousing game of Taboo.
6. I'm thankful for serendipitous stops when traveling. Mom loves alpacas, and we just happened upon an alpaca farm that welcomes visitors. Dad captured a great photo of Mom!
|Photo: Mom smiles while an alpaca eats food out of Mom's hand. (It looks like the alpaca is giving Mom a kiss!)
8. I'm thankful that today happened to be stake conference in my mom's stake, and that President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles happened to be speaking. Before he started speaking, he had all of the little children in the congregation stand up and sing the song, "I am a Child of God." Though this was an impromptu request, the children sounded like they had been rehearsing for weeks.
9. I'm thankful for good counsel. The president of the Portland Temple also spoke today. He talked about how he has been fighting moss in his lawn for a long time. He tried digging it out; he tried chemicals. Nothing got rid of the moss. Finally, he asked a master gardener what he could do. The master gardener replied that he was approaching the problem all wrong. What he should do is feed and strengthen the grass, and the grass will take care of the moss. The speaker said, "Sometimes the focus on the negative aspects of our lives strengthens them." We should seek to strengthen our spiritual "grass" and our negative "moss" will decrease.
10. I'm thankful, as always, for John. He volunteers to stop the car whenever I see a photo I want to take. To adapt the words of a resident of my grandma's care facility: John is my husband, and I love him very much.
|Photo: John and I with youngest daughter
How has your week gone? Have you seen any cousins lately?
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, The Meaning of Me, Thankful Me, Uncharted, The Wakefield Doctrine