The Value of Family

Published by emilyatspecklefarm on

Last Saturday we had a memorial for Grandpa Ray. Sadly, it ended up being for Aunt Lori as well; who we just recently lost to cancer. In the last month my family has lost a devastating number of folks, my grandparents (on set of them anyway) on my mom’s side each lost a parent. My grandma lost her father, grandpa Ray, my grandpa lost his mother, Grandma Margret. On top of that, as I already said, we also lost an Aunt.
However, this was a day to celebrate life, family and remember all the ways they touched our lives. To my family, that means we get together cook, eat, catch up, listen to or play music depending on if you were granted a musical talent and those so inclined have their share of alcohol.  I think we all have childhood memories of being lulled to sleep by bluegrass in the early morning hours on just such an occasion.  

Grandpa Ray was legendary for his guitar playing, fishing, hunting, stubbornness, littering and being generally larger than life. He always seemed stoic and intimidating to me as a kid but he also had a sparkle in his eye and always made sure we knew he loved us.

The family ( I’m not sure who all was involved?) made this boat to put some of Grandpa Ray’s ashes out to sea on. Whoever wanted could put a memento or note inside.

I was blessed to have known multiple sets of grandparents, great grandparents, and to have a family that keeps track of relatives out to seventh cousins and further. In a society where broken families are so common they are practically the norm I realize our “clan” is an unusual thing indeed.

Great-Great Grandma May, Great Grandpa Ray, Grandma Judy, my mom and me.

Family should be something that is sacred. It defends itself, protects its own and harshly turns away those who break that sanctity. But it also takes in, as its own, any who seek its shelter.

  My family is the furthest from perfect that you can get, there is plenty of drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, fights, grudges, feuds and jail time to go around.  In spite of all our problems our family is still a cohesive unit. Some days I just can’t understand how that’s even possible but it is.
Grandma Toots, Grandpa Rays wife, it was her birthday, my moms too, last week.

We are a family that loves and respects our elders, the kids are still taught to always give up their seat to elders and help out however and whenever they can. We are taught to respect and listen to our older relatives. In return they teach all of us grandkids, nieces, nephews and cousins their skills and the stories of their childhood and our legacy.

Grandma Judy & Grandpa Frank

 I’m sure most people feel they have learned so much from their families; I can say no less of mine. They helped cultivate my honest-loving-blunt-stubborn-inquisitive nature and they taught me to love unconditionally, to be passionate and to laugh at myself and life.

Unfortunately, you can’t see it but dear ol’ Uncle John is sticking his tough out at me, and people wonder where I learned it!

I  have learned so many practical skills from them; how to cook, what wild plants are safe to eat, to know the names of plants and animals and where to find the choicest morels; many more things than I could every think of or remember.
 No matter how much I write, you can’t truly know my family without meeting us.  If you do get that chance, be prepared to have whatever you may think we are, were told about us or expect us to be challenged.

Saturday was good for my soul. These tough, resilient, stubburn, honest, loving people I have the privilege to call family always remind me why my goals matter. The values they taught me and the knowledge they gave me are priceless. The way I can honor them best is to live by those values, instill them in others and share what they taught me to keep this way of life we love alive. 

How do you clean a very dirt pot without a sponge/wash cloth or soap? Find one of your husbands abandoned socks in the car and some salt, baking soda, sand or gritty dirt. Add water, problem solved!
Cal, finding a place in the shade before the crowd showed up.

Uncle Bobby Palmer gave me these sweet Polaroids of my mom when she was little, thank you again Uncle Bobby!

Here’s a little peek at the music; you also get to see a big puppy get scared and a make a run for it while tied to a chair, poor thing thought the chair was after her!

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Anonymous · August 3, 2013 at 2:52 am

Neat to kind of get a picture of “where you came from”. I love it that you are so proud of who your family is as a whole. Family ties are precious and it is great to see when people hold on to them.Gale

    Emily Swezey · August 3, 2013 at 3:51 am

    I agree, family is so very important. I hope I never forget that. Thanks for letting me know what you think, I love comments!

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