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What’s New

by Judy Richardson | Published June 24, 2023

What’s New

I have been neglecting my website and while I doubt that I have very many readers of my blogs, I felt the urge to bring my possible readers up to date.   In January I took a fabulous trip to California and felt compelled to keep a journal. We took tons of pictures and I worked for months writing and rewriting the little book. Finally, it is at the printer who is good naturedly laying it out for me. Since family and friends are the only audience for this project, I don’t intend to make it available to others.  I will post a digital copy on my website and post a link on Facebook for others if they want to read it.

Besides working on my journal, I have continued to write some poetry and work on some designs for greeting cards and posters.  In May I took a trip to Colorado to attend my granddaughter’s graduation. It was a busy four days and I traveled alone, with plenty of help from airline and airport staff to get this old lady around. The graduation for five hundred was held in the football stadium.  It was cold and rained on and off. Lucky for me the event was live steamed so I could watch the entire ceremony from the comforts of my son’s living room.

Having supervised my share of high school and college graduations, I was very impressed with the way it was presented. A party followed the next day. It was good to spend time with family who were able to attend.

One unexpected happening was making a new friend and making plans to stay in touch. We were staying at the same hotel and met while eating breakfast. She is a remarkable woman and we are corresponding now by social media and snail mail.

On Memorial Day I wrote this little piece about a trip to the cemetery.

Just Visiting

A very good friend of nearly 50 years died recently. Maybe that is why an overwhelming urge finds me at that place where so many of family and those I loved are resting. Even with a map provided by some very helpful ladies in the Rest Haven office, I could not find the Richardson markers for my husband Darrel’s parents and our son, Jeffery. I wondered back and forth across the soft green grass remembering that my husband, Chuck, was far away near Amana, and my mother and father’s passing etched on a memorial monument in the church yard for those whose ashes were scattered on the Gulf near Fort Myers.

Because it was almost Memorial Day, there were many cars parked along the roads that wound through the well-kept grounds. Folks were coming to offer flowers, say a prayer, remember and grieve.

Eventually I gave up, and walked to the place where Darrel’s ashes were resting. His urn was on a shelf behind a glass in a quiet room in the Rest Haven mausoleum. Perhaps I would be joining him in the not to distant future if my children wished. Many memories of our life together flooded my mind. Lucy sat quietly by no doubt wondering why we were there. A table filled with fresh flowers sweetened the room. I took a picture of the shelf which also held Darrel’s high school picture and a baseball signed by Warren Spahn, the great left-handed pitcher. Reflections from the outside spoiled the shot, but I kept it anyway.

As we left the building, I remembered that Darrel’s good friend, Dan Stametelos was resting nearby. I also remembered the bitter cold January day when Darrel’s mother’s service was held there. At 97 only her family remained to honor her memory. I thought of my stepson, Jeffery, who died so young of heart disease and remembered the one of the few times I ever saw Darrel cry. Once when we buried his father and once when he was wrapped grief for his son.

With my little furry companion I walked down the hill to visit the pond where ducks and a pair of swans were swimming. Many times over the years we had visited to feed some bread crumbs to them when the children were small. We crossed the wooden bridge above the artificial waterfall. Lucy found the ducks to be a bore. She was much more interested in the children passing by where we sat in the shade. In return for their giggles and adoration she dispensed numerous licks and kisses.

The family moved on to aunties’ house for turkey sandwiches. I sat looking at the peaceful scene. Nearby sat an older man on a bench marked Rodish. While all markers remained in the ground, several families were now able to have a bench added in the family name. There were now places where one could sit and pray or remember.  Rodish was a familiar family name, but I could not quite remember a connection. I thought about speaking to the gentleman but decided it was best to leave him alone with his thoughts.

Lucy and I walked back up the hill to our car. She jumped in and we began to drive slowly toward the front entrance. The center of the cemetery was lined with dozens of huge American flags. Hundreds of small flags decorated the graves of those who gave military service.  It was a time to honor and remember those who sacrificed for the country. I was a time to remember loved ones lost.

Someday, perhaps not to long from now, what is left of this aging old lady will rest here. Till then I am grateful for the lives of those I loved who continue to live in my memories. And very grateful to be just visiting.

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