All of us will "go home" at some time, it's inevitable. I remember when I was small, we drove for what seemed like days to visit my Mom's family in the country for "Decoration Day," which today is also called Memorial Day. It was an annual trip we took to decorate the graves of family members that had passed before us. As kids, we had such a good time, and it was a whole weekend of fun, excitement, and things I had never seen or done before. There were 13 children in my Mom's family, of which my mother was the youngest. We were the city people of the family, everyone else lived near the homestead. Us kids would drink out of a well, ride cows and even ride on a drag on the back of a tractor through the fields and I would always get dirty throughout.
When we would visit, we would stay at Aunt Maggie's house because it was the only home that had indoor plumbing, something that I took for granted at our own home. On Sunday, after decorating the graves, we would gather at the homestead for the giant potluck/pitch-in dinner. I remember that if we needed to go to the bathroom, we had to go to the "barn" to do our business, which as a kid, I thought that was pretty cool. All in all, it was a great weekend, and I got to see my many cousins and play in the fields and get dirty. We always brought home fresh eggs and homemade butter, something my Dad said always reminded him of his youth when he was a boy.
Several weeks ago, and with the help of Google Earth, I went back home to the farm, my Mom grew up on, and sadly, everyone had passed-on some time ago. Not knowing the address except for RR2, I scowled the location from a satellite. Low and behold, I found it, I saw the farm, and I was thrilled. Things had changed, but my mind flashed back to when I was 12 years old. I will always remember the well that we got the water from by dropping a rusty bucket down a hole and cranking it up for some cold, clean water and going to the bathroom in the barn. When I expanded my Google Earth search, I also visited the graveyard where we went to decorate the family graves. With technology today, I was at the very spot and could even rotate my view to see the graves of my family. There is no one left to have a reunion, and it's sad, and my visit was bittersweet, but I did enjoy it and the trip down memory lane.
As I walked that long road down the driveway at home last night, I stopped and sat at the grave of my dogs and the dogs of friends, I remembered the moments in my life when they were here and young. Life can be harsh at times, but when you remember them, remember the good times you had and the love you shared together.
As for this Memorial Day, remember to honor the men and women of our armed services who gave everything for us but remember our past pets too and the funny, cute, and loving way they loved us. Take a minute to look into your present dog's eyes, stroke their fur, and assure them that they are everything to you because someday before we know it, it may be too late, trust me, I know... Ken