Friday morning, my alarm went off early because I told the woman I would meet her at 9am two hours from here. My husband, who had the day off decided to go along because we would only be 1 hour from his mother and he wanted to pop in for a visit. So after a stop at Dunkin Donuts (ALL road lead to Dunkin, after all), we headed south. Along the interstate, we passed some kind of military exhibit that looked interesting, so after securing our chairs, we went through Dunkin again and went to check it out. (Keep in mind that all I've had to eat so far is half a cinnamon roll and half a blueberry donut.) Turns out it was a major win! The rain kept us from the outdoor part, but the museum and exhibits inside kept us enthralled until lunch time.
After grabbing some lunch, we scooted an hour south to Darrell's hometown. His mother was glad to see us. We grabbed his aunt and drove some more to their favorite eating spot, a buffet in the next town. We feasted on shrimp, fish, steak, chicken, Harvard beets, mashed potatoes, corn, mac and cheese....well, you get the idea! While waddling out the door, we passed a tall jar of cinnamon jelly beans calling our name and bought a pound to munch on. I don't know how we had room. I'm always looking for little goodies for the ladies and I will definitely add the cinnamon jelly beans to the list along with Suzy Q's, and snowballs. Their grocery stores are a little limited so we always take a "care package" with us when we go.
Saturday morning, we traveled north again to a produce stand owned by a local family to buy strawberries. Darrell's mom had shared the story of her roommate in the hospital when Darrell's brother was born. His mom had seen her once since then, some 50 years ago, but still remembered how much she liked her. The produce stand was owned by a family with the same last name. We grabbed up the most delicious berries and started out. As usual, Darrell took some obscure back road from his childhood to look at something that he remembered. Well, as we did our last trip, we ended up in a cemetery. I'm guessing that this activity is a senior pastime, but it brings them so much joy. It's like old home week as they laugh and remember funny details of other's lives like who wore winter clothes all year long and who swallowed a dime in church.
In one of the cemeteries, an older guy was mowing and stopped to see if we needed directions to a grave. We told him where we had been and what we had been doing. When he heard that we had been at the produce stand, we learned that it belonged to his family. My mother in law told him about this wonderful lady named Mary and he became even more interested. It turns out that Mary was his wife and the lady at the produce stand was the wife of the baby that had been born on the same day as Darrell's brother! You can't make this stuff up! The ladies just laughed and laughed at the coincidence! Seriously, what are the odds that a man in one of the 4 cemeteries that we visited was the husband of the woman my mother in law had mentioned the night before?
For weeks now, the two ladies, both in their 80's had been discussing the death of a local man who owned a feed elevator. His wife had died just one month prior. The paper had not said where they were buried and the those two had been traversing through cemeteries looking for fresh graves, with no luck. (Honestly, I don't know what the fascination is for them, but their fascination with all things graveyard fascinates me! Ha!) We drove through a cemetery that they were sure was not the one when Darrell saw a new grave. So he stopped and trotted up the hill to check it out. It wasn't the one. However, when he turned around, there were two fresh graves that had been hidden by another tombstone and it was the graves the ladies had been looking for! We decided to pitch a new reality TV show called Graveyard Detectives. It would keep those two 80 somethings from chasing ambulances, police cars and fire trucks! Yes.....they do!
The highlight of my day was seeing a red headed woodpecker for the very first time! He was too quick for me to get a photo, but boy, was he beautiful! I've always wanted to see one in the woods. He will forever remain a heart snapshot!
On the way out, we passed a historical school house where Darrell's grandmother had attended school. It was wonderfully preserved as you can see from the photos. In the back was a graveyard where many of the Cumberland Valley Militia was buried. The tombstones dated back to the Revolutionary war. Darrell was delightfully intrigued and I got a glimpse of what possibly might be my future. Yes, I know I will end up in one, should the Lord tarry, but until then the historical tombstones of others may become a pastime. I gotta buy some bug spray.
As we traveled, I smiled because I realized that God had included something special for each one of us in the day. My mother in law meeting the husband of an old friend, my aunt getting to visit a grave she hadn't been to in a very long time, Darrell seeing the old tombstones of soldiers, and me seeing my first red headed woodpecker. These may seem like small things to most, but some day, we will stand at the graves of those two dear ladies and smile as we remember days like today-should the Lord tarry.