Monday, May 25, 2009


Before I was Mrs. Olsen, Memorial Day was mostly about camping trips, parties, or pre-season fun in the metropolitan state of Utah and their homegrown amusement park, Lagoon.  Blame it on my good genes, all my contributing DNA we're alive and kicking 2 and 3 generations back throughout my Apache Avenue childhood.  Who's graves were there to visit?   Memorial Day was my teaser for summer fun just around the corner.  

It was okay.  For a season.

But now I live in a valley that was settled by my and The Mister's ancestors
back in the day.  The day meaning those white folks that built permanent structures in the earth, and feared the natives, and sought religion, and worked their asses off for food.  The whole bit.  So for good or bad, they came and threw down roots.   Here in my little valley we visit their pioneer graves at an old country cemetery just a few miles from my home. 

This was back in 2005 when I was growing Vanilla Wafer in my gut. Check out Rainbow Girl in her little rain jacket. 

Look at the rolling hills! 

The settlers named this valley, Avon. They said it looked like Stratford-on-Avon, that beautiful Shakespeare country someone left in pursuit of property, religious fervor, or the American Dream. I'm sure that no matter what they were fleeing, or seeking, they missed their native home a little and welcomed these smiling hills.

It's pretty rare to get The Mister of the House to smile in a photo. Somehow, it works here.   But don't for one minute think our Memorial Day festivities are all somber.  We like to bring some life among the tombstones, and this guy (father of The Mister) usually brings a frisbee. 

 Throwing frisbees is our way of coming to the fence of those that have passed to the other side, and saying We remember!  Look how we move!  Do you miss it? Can you fly?

Tonight after visiting graves, picnics, frisbee, and sun we were chilling at home and watching a movie.  After playing in the backyard, Rainbow Girl rushed in, heart-a-fluttering, to tell us that the neighbor's horse had just escaped from his pen.  Here's the guy right here.  He shares a wall with our feathered ladies of Bok Bok Cottage.

He's probably looking off to our (other) neighbor's pasture. He's been looking over there for a month. Ever since the empty meadow became home for 3 horses, all running together and eating grass. I've been listening to them neigh and whine at each other ever since.

And then....pop!  rush!  he was free!  He bolted to the front of his property, then turned fierce and majestic, tail pitched like a flag, horse on a mission.  Our movie paused and the neighborhood froze.  Folks gathered on their porches.  

With a jolt, the horse cut through a newly seeded yard, then galloped through a vibrant barrier-free yard, turned a corner and trotted in front of our house, and then a rush to the fence along the pasture of the tri-posse that's been egging him on for a month.  Here I am!  And the 3 stooges rushed to the edge and leaned their long necks across and nuzzled.  In their excitement, they all galloped from one edge of the pasture to the other, for one moment pretending that they were a fearsome four-some. Then they softly returned to the edge of the pasture and leaned across the fence and nuzzled some more. 

And then it was over.  Back to reality, there came the bridle and orders for home.  Triumphant, the horse was led back to his lonely pasture and his side of the fence.  

And I treasure this knowledge: that on this Memorial Day in 2009 we came to the fence, and those on the other side understood and leapt for joy.


Lee Family said...

aaaaaaaaaaah. well-written my sissy . . . as usual.

LGH said...

amazing writing.

Candice said...

I LOVE your valley. It is a good, good place.

We were raised sans Lagoon on Memorial Day. We journeyed to Star Valley, Wyoming every year to place flowers on our grandparent's graves. We do not have as strong of hearts as the Apache Avenue-ites.

Memorial Day was one of my favorite days of the year, and I have a great love for cemeteries.

Lee Family said...

where's Testimony tuesday? us east-coasters do have to go to bed some time soon.

Anonymous said...

One story about your Great-grandmother Eleanor Redford Cooper who is buried in Wellsville, Utah--she was known as an angel of mercy. She ministered to many people who had the flu. I always loved her optimistic attitude. She made me smile.
From a granddaughter,

cozy said...

Oh Amber! What a beautiful story! I am in awe of your writing ability and can't wait until your first book is published. Thanks for adding your thoughts to our Memorial Day tradition. Talk about icing on the cake!