Friday, October 26, 2007

"Bye, Bye Granny"

I love small towns. There is something so peacefully quiet and quaintly close about them. I like how there is one grocery store that everyone frequents, how shoppers meet in the produce aisle and catch up on the town's latest. I love how the pharmacist fills the weekly prescriptions without being asked, and how they are ready for Hal or Flo when he or she comes to fetch the "meds". I love Main Street and its old architecture and shops. I love how the knobby, grown trees line and shade the streets; sometimes I wish they could talk and tell me the stories of the city. I love how interested the people are in visitors. I love the pace in a small town, slow, refreshing, like it should be. I love how all the teenagers meet at the "Dairy Freeze", how it is the the local hang-out and pick-up joint. I love seeing a weathered farmer rolling down a dirt road in his worn pick-up at the end of the day, and I love imagining him returning to an aged home, the arms of a kind woman, and a warm room filled with the fragrance of home-made bread. I wonder if I would still love them if I had been raised in one. I do know I love visiting small towns so much because those are my roots. I was born in Cedar City, Utah, a small town, and last week I returned to my birthplace to say goodbye to my sweet Gran.

I decided I would drive to Cedar for the funeral services. Jaren was unable to come with us because of work so Gunnar and I got ready for our first road trip, alone. I did everything I could think of to make the journey easy for him: new snacks, different toys and books, I even borrowed a dvd player and some new movies. The total drive time is six hours. I thought he would watch three movies and we would be there in a snap. He was with me when I was packing the car and while Jaren was helping us figure out how to use the dvd player. He saw that there was a tv in the car and he got so excited about it. I started feeling better about our trek after I saw his reaction. The next morning I could barely get him dressed; he wanted to go to the car to watch tv. I was feeling even more enthused about our drive after that. He was too excited to eat before we left which was fine for me; I figured he would be interested in food and that would take his mind off of being in the car. We loaded up and took off on our adventure. Let's just say Gunnar has no future for amusement park roller coasters, the teacups at Disneyland, or a career in space as an astronaut. 30 minutes into the ride he totally got car sick and lost his, ummm, juice, since that was all he had consumed. (I guess I should be happy about that part. The mess was just sticky to clean up, and there wasn't a terrible "throw-up" smell for the rest of the trip. You all know what I am talking about.;)) I had to pull over on the freeway to help him. He was wet all over. Poor thing. I did the best I could and promised to get him into fresh clothes as soon as we could get off the road in a safe place. We started on our journey again and then he had another "episode" about 45 minutes later. He comes by it honest, that's for sure. Jaren and I can't be on anything that spins, shakes, vibrates, or basically moves without being sick. In fact the swings at parks make me feel nauseated. I know. Sad.

He needed to be changed and get all of the "icky juice" cleaned off so I pulled over as soon as I could to take care of my boy. He fell asleep right after, and didn't want to watch anymore tv for the duration of the ride. If anyone needs some new verses to "The Wheels on the Bus" let me know. I had two hours of time to come up with new renditions. Oh, I forgot to mention that once again Bobby was an ever constant companion for Gunnar. Know how you have friends or maybe even spouses that will hold your hair back or rub your back while you are tossing your cookies? Bobby, lovingly, caught all of Gunnie's, "icky juice." Good Bobby. We found a laundromat as soon as we got to Cedar. We couldn't go to Gran's funeral without a clean Bobby.

We stopped in Primm, Nevada to have a bite and get all cleaned-up. Gunnie was all smiles once he got out of the car.

We shopped around for a bit to see if there was anything we "had" to have. Gunnar wanted this hat, but I told him it just wasn't practical with his current wardrobe.
The rest of the ride was non-eventful, with the exception of writing new rounds to "The Wheels..." song.

Main Street. My dad and I took a stroll down the main drag. It was nice to visit with him, reconnect, and breathe the clean country air. My grandma lived in a really, really, small town called Summit right outside of Cedar. Going to Cedar from Summit was, "going to town" for her. ;)
I saw these trees while I was driving around with Gunnar (he fell asleep in the car. I didn't want to try and transfer him, so I decided to take a drive around the old town.) I went back later with my Dad to get these shots. I LOVE THE FALL IN UTAH! That is something I really miss in California: seasons. I love the color on the leaves and was enchanted by these trees.
I love this picture; the leaves are gorgeous!!

We used to visit Gran during the summer, it was a tradition for a while, to go to the Shakespearean Festival; Cedar City is famous for its theater festival each summer. It was something I really looked forward to doing. I loved being with my family and spending some time with Gran. (Not to mention the home-made bread and apricot preserves we had for breakfast at Gran's each morning.)Local Color on Main Street.

My sweet dad with Local Color.

I had such a great daddy daughter date that day; I wish we had had more time. It reminded me of being a little girl.

I took these pictures inside Bullock Drug on Main Street. The building itself is historic and has a cool story to it. Unfortunately, I don't remember the story, but I do remember going there often with Gran for a cherry Coke.

This soda shop has everything you can think of in terms of drinks and sweets, and it is decorated perfectly to the period, complete with a working jutbox!! I loved the soda shop when I was young; I still do. My dad and I stopped in this time to snap these shots and to have a cherry Coke in Gran's honor.

Gunnar was in true form at the funeral. I was feeling a little awkward to have him be a part of the viewing. In fact I didn't want him to be in the room at all. He showed no fear though and followed his cousins right in to the room where Gran was "sleeping". The funeral director asked all the family members to come and say goodbye. Once again I hesitated, but took Gunnar up to my mom who was standing close by. I asked him to say goodbye to Gran. Without even hesitating he said, "Bye, Bye, Granny." Then he blew her a kiss. It was sweet and made everyone around smile and chuckle. Right after he said, "Granny sleeping." Then he quite bossily told everyone else to be quiet so as not to wake her. "SHHHHHHHHHHHHH! GRANNY SLEEPING!" ;)

They closed her casket and we walked behind it to the chapel for her services. (Funerals are interesting. I think I want everyone to dance at mine. Oh, and wear really, really bright colors! And eat at Cafe Rio afterwards.) While we were walking in Gunnar kept saying, "Bye, Bye Granny." It was really quiet and this made everyone smile because it was so tender and sweet. (Gran loved children too, so it was perfect for her.) Then he started to become frustrated, like we were taking too long walking, and in a gruff and stern voice he said, "Go away Granny, go away!" I was mortified. Everyone else laughed.

These two pictures were taken at the gravesite. My grandfather used to work in a coal mine. Someone brought this truck and left it on his headstone. Of course my little boy went straight to it and started digging the unearthed dirt. I love this picture of my mom's and Gunnar's hands. He was so excited to show her this truck.

He had no problem putting it back where he found it when he was asked. I love those "good listening" moments.

My mom was so peaceful through the entire process. I kept asking her if she was ok, anticipating that at any moment she would be overwhelmed with sadness. I was so impressed with her composure and strength. No one loves you like your mother.

The original team: my sister, Kori, Mom, Dad, and me.

This is my niece Bethany. She is 5. I love taking pictures of her because she is so stinkin' photogenic and because she holds still long enough to get a good shot almost every time.

Another one of my favorite funeral moments came from her. She went with my sister to say goodbye to Gran. Kori is super good at explaining things to her girls so they were prepared. Afterwards Bethie came up to me and said, "Kam, I just saw Gran, dead." She was totally unphased. It was hysterical. I am glad there was so much laughter at the funeral; Gran would have wanted it that way.

Yes, he is topless. After the services we went to Gran's church in Summit for a luncheon. For some reason my son wanted to eat with his clothes off. I was trying to hold firm, but his Aunt Kori said it would be ok for him to take his shirt off, that it wasn't a big deal. So I surrendered. He proceeded to want his pants off too. What kind of event was he trying to turn this into? Seriously Gunnar, show some respect and modesty. I think by the time I got him out to the car the only thing left on him was his pants. What a kid.

Her flowers were all so beautiful.

When she was younger she looked like Judy Garland. I loved looking at black and whites of her from her youth.

"Bye Bye, Granny." We love you.

p.s. The trip home was awesome. I got wise and bought some baby dramamine. Gunnar slept for the first 2.5 hours, and then watched tv the rest of the ride. We didn't even stop once.


Matthew Engelken said...

Thanks for sharing the story. Gunny was in peak form for your grandmother. Also, thanks for providing the harrowing travel story. That gives me the courage I need to take Cade on a three hour flight. Is it too late to cancel my reservations?

Kate said...

Loved reading your BEAUTIFUL writing... so glad you made it home safely and that you were able to have such special time with your fam.

Kam said...

I will teach you my verses to will be fine.

Will you buy my novel when it comes out? I will sign your copy. thanks for your encouragement!!

Paige said...

I loved this post! Very beautiful. You have some great memories in there that you and your family will love to read later. And the part about Gunnar and the car had me totally laughing. Sorry. I have BTDT WAAAAAY too many times. You are in good company. :)

Kam said...

What is BTDT? How come I don't know that acronym? Am I going to look so stupid when you tell me what it means?
I am so glad you enjoyed the post! I have a novel idea brewing in my head. It might be one of my next post with a poll to see if I should start the book. I need a publisher too. Know any? ;)

Emily said...

Like they have all said it was beautiful. Makes me really miss home. I think BTDT is Been There Done That. I wish I could have come to see everyone as I have miss everyone so much. Thanks for the beautiful memories that have stirred up some wonderful memories for me.

Kam said...

Thanks Em for the heads up on the BTDT acronym. ;) We missed you too. I have been feeling sad the last couple of days thinking about Gran. A lot of memories have come back to me too, especially while I was in Cedar. I hope you are well. I love ya- Kam