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May 17, 2005

Just something that folks do...

We recently visited my wife's family back in Iowa. Joie's Grandpa Lee (whom our son Maxwell takes his middle name from) passed away last Fall. This was one of those important treks (we drove - 12 hours straight - *each way*) that had to be made.

Joie's Grandma Wanda is doing well, and has been here to visit twice since Lee's passed. I think the Colorado clan coming to see her in Iowa was needed and cathartic in its' own ways.

The tangible purpose of the trip was to clean out Lee's barn - yes on the farm. For Joie's Dad and Uncle, this was seemingly an obvious chore that they figured they had to do eventually. I'm not sure I was alone in thinking that it maybe was a bit more than that for them.

For my part in all this, well, I basically spent three days as a hired hand. The work was long, the conditions warm (85 degrees) and humid (50%), but it came with room and board - and I mean lot's of board. As Joie recalled Grandpa Lee saying, "Around here you eat to keep from getting hungry". Boy ain't that the truth! I was happy to help where I could - mostly keeping to the background and out of the way.

At the end of it all, we had several loads to the dump, plenty in the burn pile, many artifacts and treasures for saving, passing along, and reuse.

One treasure we landed (well, it doesn't look like a treasure yet, but it may some day) is a 1966 Chevy Impala - 2-door hardtop. That project needs some local repair work to get it running and then we'll get it out here. Joie's Great Grandma Helen bought this car new, and eventually Grandma Wanda used it to commute to work daily, back in the day when she worked. It is a good thing to keep in the family.

The boys and Jesse enjoy the farm. We caught three garter snakes around the crop fields. We cornered a possum (not difficult) under the deck one evening. We caught fireflies (they prefer lighting up when free - not in a jar).

More of the Iowa Siegrist clan visited from Northern Iowa. Young cousins met and played with our young ones, for an important, and albeit infrequent encounter. Certainly more to come, but just not as often as all would like.

All in all, it was a good three days for everyone - and just a lot of stuff that folks just do at certain times.

My minimal but hopefully lasting contribution - I'm the de facto archivist in the family, and we captured a group photo. Something we should all do when the opportunity presents itself - here, a remarkable congregation of four generations and dozens of branches on family tree's. So simple to execute in minutes and seconds, yet likely to last generations.

Fittingly, the photo was taken with my digital camera on timer delay, sitting atop an old chair of Wanda's from the shop, on which rested a box, on which rested a car-jack rest from Lee's barn. Your typical Iowa tripod.

I'm far from my family, back on the East Coast in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and wish I could have managed similar visits with them. As it stands, you do what is feasible, and much of the time what is natural.

I'm only party to this fine group by law (my kids aside), but I couldn't be more proud to be in this photo. If you get your chance to capture such a moment, be sure to take it.

Posted by gcrgcr at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)