My Mom and I were in Minnesota for less than 48 hours. We had one purpose, to support my nieces and nephew as they faced the loss of their mother. Out of respect for their privacy I won't be talking about that except to say I was proud of them and wish we lived closer together.
When I was in 6th grade my family moved to that small town in Minnesota where my nieces and nephew later grew up. I lived there until the end of my 9th grade year. I loved living there! Our home was actually a country church parsonage that sat right beside the little church as well as a little cemetery. A small creek wound around us and a little lake was near the end of our driveway, all laced with trees. Doesn't that sound lovely? It really was.
As we were so limited on time we really tried to spend it all with family. It has been nearly 39 years since we last lived out there and much has changed. We did take a few minutes, though, to drive down the lane to the parsonage/church/cemetery where we once lived. That little driveway still felt so very familiar. The church itself did not look that much different, although it is no longer a church.
The parsonage was much the same, although it seemed to have shrunk a bit. It is no longer a parsonage, though. That propane tank used to be a place I thought of as my own. I'd run at it on the low end and leap up as though I was landing on the back of my horse. Perhaps I will regret sharing that particular memory. I will also likely regret telling that I'd sometimes put my after-school bologna sandwich in my mouth when I did that leaping maneuver so that I could sit on the back of my "horse" while enjoying my sandwich.
Mom and I got out and endured a chilly wind to walk around the cemetery a bit. It may seem kind of odd but during our years there we'd grown quite used to that cemetery. Mom, for a time, was the person who mowed the cemetery lawn. We found the foundation of the tombstone she'd nicked when she was mowing one day right after it had been placed. I remember that as being a pretty mortifying day for her but it gave us both a chuckle these 40 years later.
I found the tall tombstone that used to kind of scare me. When I'd first moved there other kids convinced me to reach up and put my finger inside a hole on the top. They said I'd feel the hair of the lady who was buried there. Of course I was too old to believe it but I do remember that it DID kind of feel like hair in there.
Later, during those rough junior high years, I often wandered around this little cemetery. Many times I'd read the names on those very old stones and wonder what their lives had been like. I came to think of that place as a peaceful sanctuary.
We found the names of people we'd known. Some had died many years ago, while others are still alive. These kind people have taken some of the burden from their future survivors by having their plots and tombstones all ready. Mom commented how good these people were to plan ahead so well.
It would have been nice to drive around and visit some of the few who may still remember us but we knew our purpose. I took a few photos of our old home and we got back into our vehicle, protected from the cold wind of that day, while our minds were melancholy with memories of a tender time of long ago.
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