I hadn't intended a theme for the day, but sometimes these things happen.
About a month or so ago, my paternal grandfather died. We attended the viewing with the children, and as part of the experience I had a lot of talks with Theodore about mortality and about the practical side of "what happens" (that is, to the remains. Didn't get in to discussions re: spirituality). Since then, he has had the occasional curious question and is especially interested in cemeteries, wanting to see and ask about the "statues" (headstones). After a few weeks, the questions died down (no pun intended). Then, a week or so ago, we were visiting my mother when he hit me with the double whammy. First, still feeling out the notion that his grandmother is my mother (Mommies have mommies? Neat!), he asked, "Whose tummy did Gram come out of?" So my mother showed him a photo of her parents, both deceased. Well, when he found out, he requested that he be taken "to see their statues where they are buried".
He did not let up on this. He would wake up every morning asking if I'd made the arrangements with Gram. So, we planned a trip. My mother, being the last of her 7-sibling clan still living locally, is the family Grave Tender, and she typically goes to trim weeds and plant geraniums on Memorial Day weekend. So, she pushed it up a bit and we went along. Theo chose the flowers himself (opting for pansies over the rather bedraggled-looking geraniums at the garden center), and brought his own little trowel.
He and Gram planted the flowers and talked a little about the family history.
While we were there, we took the kids to climb on The Monument.
This is the largest grave marker in the Centerville cemetery. All I have is my mother's legend to go on, so I'm not sure how accurate this is, but the story is that this man was a miser who commissioned this memorial
to use up the remainder of his savings, thus keeping his heirs from an inheritance. There used to be a large obelisk atop the main plinth, but it was destroyed in a tornado many years ago.
Later, since we were in the area, we went to the Steam Engine show. Hosted twice annually by the National Pike Steam, Gas, and Horse Association, this is a showcase of antique heavy equipment. Sadly, there seems to be less and less steam-powered equipment than I remember from when I was a child, and much of what was on display was not in working order. There were plenty of diesel and gasoline motors chugging away, though. With the price of gasoline at $3.80 that weekend, it surprised me just how many exhibitors were running! But I digress. They do still run the steam-powered sawmill near the park entrance, although I did not see if the thresher was still on display (way cool to watch). And there were a ton of farm tractors to climb on.
But coolest of all were the DIGGERS!
There were a LOT of them, mostly diesel. But there were two actual steam shovels working away (and keeping up quite nicely).
Cayden was instantly speechless (the boy LOVES excavating equipment) and then animated the rest of the afternoon, running back and forth and jabbering about the "ekkavadas". Theo, bless his bookish heart, immediately shouted, "It's Mary Anne!" That's my boy!
We watched the diggers for a long, long time. My mother was particularly thrilled to see that many of the diggers were being operated by teenage boys...most under the tutelage of older relatives, passing along the history. Awesome.
After some digging of our own
and a stop for ice cream,
we headed home. Just before the boys dozed off in the van, Theo asked, "How do they dig the holes to put the dead people under the statues?" And I answered, "Usually with a backhoe." What do you know, a joined theme. I hadn't even planned it. :)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
OMG we are such geeks. Despite the wet grass, we had to run out immediately and march around the front yard, trying out our new toy. The whole family was involved. Scratch that--the grownups and the little guys played. The adolescents, sensing a plan of conscripted labor, basically told us where to stick it and sulked in their room. Ah, it's going to be a long, long summer.