Exit 109. I come from somewhere.

I missed last week’s post.  So at some point in the next couple weeks, I’ll do two posts in one week.  Sorry… I’ve been busy.

One thing that has kept me busy the last couple weeks is that a lot more of my friends are getting married.  Two weeks ago, I was a groomsman in a wedding about 100 miles from here.  The couple met working at a Christian retreat and conference center in that area. I arrived in the early afternoon the day before the wedding, but before I headed to the church to help set up, I had a stop I wanted to make.  I drove past a cemetery on the edge of town, where I had been at least once before, but it had been many years.  I was naively hoping that being there would jog my memory and help me remember exactly where the graves I was looking for were located.  (Plural, because it is a husband and wife buried next to each other.)  And when I got there, I was pretty sure I knew which section of the cemetery to go to, but after walking around for five minutes, I didn’t see them.

I had looked up the cemetery online the night before, and I was a little disappointed to see that the office was closed on the days that I was going to be in the area.  However, when I got there, I saw that there was clearly someone in the office that day, so I figured I would ask if it was possible to look up the people I was looking for.  The man in the office was very nice, and he pointed out where to look, maybe about 50 feet or so from where I had been looking before.  Once I knew where to look, they were easy to find.  On the right was a man I never met; he was born in 1898 and died in 1959, some time before I was born.  His wife, buried just to the left, had outlived him by many years; she was born in 1902 and died in 1994.  I knew her when I was a kid; I was a senior in high school when she passed.

These were my great-grandparents.

My family has roots in this part of California going back several decades.  My dad was born there, and I have met people who grew up in that city who have heard of my great-uncle and the ranching operation he once ran just outside of town.  When I was a kid, my family would visit Dad’s relatives in that area at least twice a year, on the average.  We would stay with my great-grandmother, who lived in a house on the property where the ranch once was, and I have many fond memories of running around exploring the surrounding hills.  Since then, though, almost all of those relatives have gradually either moved out of the area or passed away.  (I’m not giving a specific location of where I was, due to my wish to remain anonymous on this blog.  If you know me personally, and you’re curious, ask me on Facebook or in a text.  But most of you probably know already, since I posted a few pictures that day.)

While I was there paying my respects, I got to thinking.  I feel like I don’t have as strong of a connection with family as I could.  (Since I am in Facebook contact with a number of relatives, some of whom read this sometimes, I should say that I’m not blaming anyone but myself for this.)  And with no children of my own, or even nieces or nephews, I don’t know that I’ll ever have a legacy of memories to pass on to another generation in my family.  Part of the problem is that I just don’t have a lot in common with much of my family.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything.  Many others in my extended family have children whose lives I can be part of.  My family is all spread out geographically now, but I still come from somewhere, and it’s important to remember and recognize that.