Tag Archives: Memorial Day

The Latest: Spring/Summer 2020

The last time I shared an update of what the family has been up to, it was March. Wendy and I had just completed the longest stretch of travel in the shortest amount of time in our lives. Our sojourns included but were not limited to Madison’s wedding in Columbia, SC, Suzanna’s wedding in Mazatlan, Mexico, Christmas in London, New Year’s in Dublin, and our vacation and cruise in Florida and the Caribbean. That doesn’t include all of my work travel between those trips. Basically, between October and March, I was at home less than 50% of the time. So my last update on this blog happened after Wendy and I had just returned from a cruise with our friends and there was rising concern about this pesky little virus from China.

That seems like it was another lifetime. From non-stop travel to staying at home all the time. What a contrast.

So, I guess I should start off by letting everyone know that everyone in our family is healthy and safe. Living in a small town in rural Iowa has its advantages. For Wendy and me, that means a total of only 73 cases of COVID-19 in our county with zero deaths. A few of Wendy’s family members had the virus but quarantined and were fine.

So let’s go back in time…

(Love that meme!)

Right before our cruise and right before COVID lockdown, Wendy and I had been asked if we would allow our home to be the location for a special birthday blow-out for our friend, Sarah. Of course, we said “yes,” and we loved that our home could be used for the event. It was a great night of meeting lots of new people, serving as hosts to our friends and their guests, and celebrating Sarah’s big day.

Of course, right after we returned from our cruise the world stopped. All of my business travel was canceled. The lockdown also happened right before St. Patrick’s Day, which happens to be one of our favorite holidays. Thankfully, the Vander Well Pub right down the stairs in our basement. Wendy and I celebrated in a private affair.

Private St. Patrick’s Day party at the Vander Well Pub. Small crowd. Had to use the selfie-stick. Slaintè!

For a couple of months, Wendy and I barely got out of the house. In some ways, it was a nice change from the plethora of travel we’d just finished. Like most people, we took the opportunity to accomplish tasks that had been on the to-do list for years. This included stringing up a shade-sail and lights over our patio. We were so excited to use the grill for the first time this spring.

Our kids, Madison and Garrett, made a brief weekend visit (they were the only passengers on the plane) to Iowa in early April. Because my parents (who had never met Garrett in person) were unable to attend the wedding in South Carolina and Garrett had never been to Pella, they wanted to make the trip and it was awesome to have them. Of course, they couldn’t actually meet my parents in lockdown, but they stood on the sidewalk and spoke to them through the folks’ second-story window. C’est la vie.

About that time, I was playing a little driveway basketball with m’man, Nathan, and took a tumble while chasing the basketball into the yard. In one swift move, age met with athletically-challenged coordination. I chipped an ankle bone, strained my Achilles tendon, and tore my calf. Ugh. Welcome to weeks of crutches and sleeping in a recliner followed by several weeks on hobbling in a bionic-boot.

I continue to teach on occasion among our local gathering of Jesus’ followers and volunteer in leading the teaching team, but even that has been weird. Like most churches, we went to live-streaming the service from an empty sanctuary to those watching on YouTube at home. This year, Wendy made a lovely Easter breakfast and we ate as we attended Sunday services on the couch in our living room.

Happy Easter!

On a couple of occasions, I also got the chance to join our friend, Jenny, in hosting the eerily Today-like pre-and-post-service on-air chat.

Wendy and I made good use of the patio on my birthday. Of course, COVID meant that the celebration was limited, so we invited the VLs (who moved into the neighborhood! Woot! Woot!) over to cookout and celebrate one more orbit around the sun.

Of course, celebrating May fourth is always important.

Spring is when Wendy and I are usually busy portraying our town’s founding couple at the annual Pella Tulip Festival. The festival was canceled along with every other event in the known world, but by May things were starting to begin a scaled opening and we were desperately ready to get out of the house. Our friends Kev and Beck brought their kids to Pella for a day of enjoying the tulips, even if there was no festival.

While our business has been, understandably, slow, Wendy has kept busy this year working as the studio manager of a new yoga here in Pella: Selah Studio. The studio is owned by our friends the VLs and it has been holding classes in various rented spaces while they got the studio space uptown ready for prime time. Wendy and I were so excited when we got the opportunity to join them to pray over and bless the space.

In the world of COVID-correctness we tried very hard to balance being safe and wise with continuing to live life. While we stayed away from most social situations, we considered our inner-circle of friends the “family” with whom we do life. So it was, that Wendy and her girlfriends decided to have an old-fashioned girls’ sleepover at our house and I was politely asked to vacate the premises for a night and a day. So, my friend Kev and I took his son, Harry, to the lake for a little male rite-of-passage weekend before the young man headed off to forge his own path in life. This dudes weekend with father and son had been discussed for years. I was so glad we finally got to make it happen!

Our “family” normally spends Memorial Day at the lake together, so we kept up our tradition. Always a fun time with the crew.

My folks continue to hang in there through the COVID craziness. Their retirement community locked down pretty tight, but they were given a special dispensation to go to the lake for a long weekend with me and my sister. We tried to remember the last time we spent a weekend together, just the four of us, which we figured was probably sometime in the late 1980s. It was a great weekend reliving memories and spending time together at the Playhouse. Dad and I fixed the dock light together. Jody and I helped dad alter his Memoji so that it actually looked like him. We went for boat rides, spent the mornings on the deck and the afternoons on the dock. It was a great time of making memories.

As June continued we realized a years-long dream of getting the friends together for a Godfather night. The JPs and VLs came to VW Manor for a really amazing Italian dinner. Wendy made Chicken Parmesan (so good) and fresh-baked Italian bread (so, so good). Dinner was followed by a showing of the original Godfather. After the movie, we enjoyed Cannoli (yes, we left the gun) as we talked about the movie. It was awesome.

As for the rest of our crew: Tay, Clay, and Milo are still living in Edinburgh, Scotland (way too far away for Papa and Ya-Ya’s liking). A HUGE congratulations are in order for Clayton for finishing his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh while navigating life with a new and unexpected wee-one. Clay has been hired to participate in a three-year research project, and we’re really proud of him. Milo is two-and-a-half years old and is totally into dinosaurs and fire trucks. Taylor continues to work for storii.com and loves advancing the cause of care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia in our world. They recently got out of lockdown and celebrated Taylor’s 30th birthday with their favorite team of Iowa ex-pats in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Madison and Garrett purchased their first house in Columbia, South Carolina and they adopted our first-ever granddog, Bertha. Garrett continues in medical device sales and Madison continues to work in development for the Governor’s STEM high school in South Carolina.

So, that’s the skinny on February through June 2020. Cheers!

Hello Summer!

Storm clouds gathered. Rain poured. Sirens blared. But we survived the tempest!

It’s well established that summer at the lake starts on Memorial Day weekend and ends with Labor Day weekend. We typically try to start summer early each year because May often provides the weather for it and it’s nice to get in some time at the lake before the summer crowds arrive. It just wasn’t in the cards this year. The spring has been cool and wet, and Wendy and I have been busy at home with landscaping and work among other things.

Cubs on the radio. Moscow Mule. Good book. Hello, Summer!

So, we were really looking forward to getting the summer kicked off on Memorial Day weekend. We headed down Thursday evening to get the Playhouse opened up. The VLs joined us on Friday. We enjoyed afternoons at Captain Ron’s beach and on the dock, boat rides, and of course there was lots of good food, drink, and conversation. We did have some rain, and even a tornado siren or two, but that just afforded the opportunity for reading, eating, drinking, and chatting indoors. The VL boys, meanwhile, enjoyed the addition of the PS3 in the lower level.

The Puddle Effect

The VLs headed home on Memorial Day. Wendy and I stayed for the week and worked remotely. We did, however, afford the opportunity to spend an afternoon at Bear Bottom and enjoy some French Open tennis while hanging out at BWW’s in Osage.

My folks arrived on Saturday afternoon with our niece Emma. We hung out on the dock and went to Captain Ron’s for pizza. Rain washed out our plans for an evening boat ride so we watched a movie. Wendy and I packed up and headed home this morning, leaving the folks and Emma at the lake for the week.

It was a nice kick-off to summer. Here’s to a great season of making good memories with family and friends!

The Latest 06-05-2016

Talk about celebration! This week began with a holiday and ended with a family wedding. Here’s the latest.

On Memorial Day Wendy and I headed to Des Moines for our second Iowa Cubs game of the season. Some friends gifted us their tickets which were in the fourth row right behind the I-Cubs’ dugout. It was a hot, sunny day and we both became crispy critters as the afternoon wore on. Our boys of summer sent 14 batters to the plate in the 6th inning and scored 10 runs including a grand slam by top Cubs’ prospect, Wilson Contreras. It was a ball!

Upon our arrival back in Pella, we walked across the street to Kevin and Linda’s. They were having a Memorial Day cookout with friends from Central’s theatre department. We enjoyed a little food off the grill and a cold bevy or two. It was great to see Rob Kahn, who had returned to Iowa after his professional turn in two Shakespearean productions in Philadelphia this past spring. I ended the holiday by moving the lawn.

With the end of May and the  beginning of June, there was plenty of work on the plate in the shortened work week. Month end deadlines combined with beginning of the month tasks. The weather has been making the turn toward summer with warmer temperatures and occasional strong storms.

It was a lovely evening on Wednesday when we went to see our friend, Nathan VL, play baseball at Pella’s new sports park. The young boys of summer played a great game and it was fun to cheer them on.

I’m not sure what to make of the fact that one year after we moved in, both of our neighbors have sold their houses. Hopefully that’s just a coincidence! Just yesterday we met our new neighbors to the north, Greg and Chanelle, who moved in from Grimes. The gaggle of teenagers next door has given way to a flock of 3 (and one on the way) wee ones. No word yet on our new neighbors to the south. More to come.

On Friday we headed to Boone in the afternoon. Wendy’s brother, Lucas, got married to Brooke on Saturday. The Hall clan gathered for the festivities. The only members missing were brother Josh, who continues to serve as an Army dentist in Korea, and his fiance, Ellie. Friday evening was spent finishing up decorations at Seven Oaks Lodge, rehearsal, and a pizza dinner. It was great to see family, especially Wendy’s brother Jesse and his daughter, Sophia, whom we had not seen in a long time. We also loved meeting Abby, Jesse’s girlfriend, who hails from Camdenton – just down the road from our Playhouse in the Ozarks.

We drove back to Pella on Friday night and I spent Saturday morning on the lawn. Then it was time to clean up, pick up Grandma VH, and head back to Boone for the big wedding. We arrived about 2:30 and busied ourselves helping out. I got to chauffeur Brooke, and personal attendant Suzanna, up to a private spot where Lucas was to see his bride in her dress for the first time. I also helped out as usher for the ceremony.

Suzanna Mom Hall Dancing

It was a bright, sunny and windy day. It has been a long time since this many of the Hall clan were together. I enjoyed taking photos and watching Wendy’s joy as she got to hang with her siblings. The wedding was simple and beautiful. You gotta love a wedding reception catered by Hickory Park in Ames. It was after 10 p.m. before we left Boone. Grandma VH was a trooper. She slept a good part of the drive home.

Looking forward to heading back to the lake this week and working remotely from the deck. Hot, sunny weather in the forecast. Love it. Next weekend is our annual summer kick-off weekend with Kev and Beck.

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start of summer at the lake. The Pella VLs joined us for a weekend that, unfortunately, was cooler and rainier that we had wished, but it didn’t dull the fun. There was fishing: a few small ones caught, a big one got away [sorry Chad], and Aaron dropped his pole in the lake (thanks to Dad for fishing it out of the bottom of the lake on Sunday morning). There were movies: Star Wars was a big hit with the kids (of all ages) this year. There was also reading, frisbee golf, boat rides, Captain Ron’s beach, and plenty of food and laughter.

Wendy and I arrived late on Thursday afternoon and got the Playhouse ready for fun. The VLs arrived just after 9:00 p.m. and everyone hit the hay fairly early. On Friday we headed to the beach at Captain Ron’s in the afternoon. It wasn’t exactly sunny, but the rain held off and the kids enjoyed the sand and water. In the evening we had a lovely dinner with salmon on the grill and, after the kidlets went to bed, the adults enjoyed conversation on the deck.

Saturday started out pretty rainy, but by the afternoon there was a break and we headed to Larry’s for dinner. We’d never been there, so it was fun to try. Food was great and we all enjoyed the boat ride there and back.

Sunday we headed back to Captain Ron’s in the afternoon and enjoyed grilling out burgers and brats in the evening. The VLs headed into Osage for some frozen custard while Tom and Wendy held down the fort.

Monday morning was the requisite donut run to Sunrise Donuts. Afterwards, Tom and Chad took the kids for a long boat ride. Then, it was time to pack up for home. It goes so fast, but the memories last a lifetime!

Warriors to Writers

American troops in an LCVP landing craft appro...
American troops in an LCVP landing craft approach Omaha Beach 6 June 1944. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sons of Ulam were brave warriors who could handle the bow. They had many sons and grandsons—150 in all. 1 Chronicles 8:40 (NIV)

I remember well the conversations between boys on the playground of Woodlawn Elementary School. There is something God instilled in boys that we begin to measure one another by physical strength and prowess at a young age. When comparisons on the playground ended in some kind of dead heat, the arguing escalated to comparing fathers, grandfathers, and ancestors for bragging rights. Those bragging rights often rested on military service, especially those whose male ancestors fought in a war.

I admit that, at the time, I always feared this escalation of generational military comparison. My friend, Scott, had an actual saber from one of his forebears who served in the Civil War. That was the ultimate trump card. As far as I knew, there wasn’t too much of the warrior spirit to brag about on either side of the family. My uncle was a navy man in the Korean war, but being a cook on a landing craft wasn’t about to go over big with the boys on the playground. My maternal grandfather served in the Civil Defense during WWII, but having a helmet and billy club to defend Des Moines from the Imperial Forces of Japan wasn’t exactly the stuff of playground legend either. I still remember that billy club. It was made from a sawn off pool cue, but that didn’t compare to a Civil War saber.

As I’ve been reading through the genealogies of the tribes of Israel the past week, I’ve noticed that “mighty warriors” get called out quite often by the Chronicler. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. And, I get it. A few weeks ago our country celebrated Memorial Day followed by an apt commemoration of D-Day. We honored the warriors, both men and women, who put themselves on the front lines to defend our country, our culture, our freedom, and our values from those who have sought to take that away.

Around 450 B.C. when the scribe was first penning the genealogies of the book of Chronicles, I believe things were far more precarious than anything we know in America today. City states and villages were under constant threat of raids and attacks. The Chronicles were written after both Israel and Judah had suffered destruction and exile at the hands of Assyria and Babylon. “Mighty Warriors” who could defend a village, town, or tribe were honored because they were an every day insurance policy against being raided, pillaged, tortured and killed.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about the arts, but it is not lost on me that the freedom and affluence which affords me the luxury of being able to explore every medium of art was made possible by the blood sacrifice of warriors. I have always heard versions of the quote, “I was a soldier, so my son can be a farmer, so his son can be a poet.” I did a little digging to find the source of that quote and found it predicated on a letter our American founder, John Adams, wrote to his wife, Abigail:

I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy.  My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce, and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry, and Porcelaine.
Letter to Abigail Adams, May 12, 1780

Today, I’m thankful for the warriors, leaders, farmers, teachers, and businesspeople who paved the way for writers, poets, musicians, artists, actors, and playwrights to work in peace and freedom.

2014 Annual Weekend at the Lake with the Roose’s

Hard to believe it’s Friday already. Wendy and I arrived back from our week at the lake on Monday night. After Memorial Day, we worked from the lake house. Wendy and I are blessed to have jobs that we can often manage from anywhere provided we have our laptops and an internet connection. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent working and trying to get ahead knowing that Kevin and Becky were arriving on Thursday night.

The big news of the week came with finding and buying a cute little boat that we’ve dubbed “Apollonia” or “Polly” for short. For many years we’ve been blessed to have the use of Dad VW’s boat down at the lake. He felt it was time to sell it and so he hauled it back to Iowa last fall and sold it to a guy from Minnesota just a few weeks ago. On the way down to the lake Wendy and I talked about how hard it was going to be (especially for me, I confess) to be “on the lake” but not to be able to be “on the lake” with family and friends.

The conversation continued over the next day or two and we discussed how much we could afford (not much) and what we really needed in a boat (something small, reliable that fit on the existing life and would get us from point A to point B on the lake). A little searching on-line led us to this cute 18 foot bow rider. A quarter of a century old, the 1989 Century shows signs of age and wear, but she’s cute and feisty (and she’s red, a big plus in Wendy’s book). After negotiations, test drives, mechanical inspections, we finally got her in the water on Friday.

Kev and Beck arrived late on Thursday night (Warning to all who come to our Playhouse: trust GPS directions at your own peril). On Friday the girls headed into Osage for a little shopping while Kev and I blew up the Relaxation Station and relaxed in the sun for a while. We got the boat in the water in the late afternoon and enjoyed an amazing steak dinner before taking the boat on a moonlight cruise to Bulldog’s for a nightcap.

Saturday was Bear Bottom day. We arrived early and staked our claim at the swim up bar, though the pool is always so cold this early in the season. It was there that Becky initiated the conversation about what we would call the boat, and we landed on Apollonia/Polly in homage to Apollo the Greek god of, among other things, light, sun, healing, and the arts. We ate lunch at Bear Bottom and hung out until mid-afternoon. A day in the sun had everyone worn out and naps were in order before another fabulous evening meal. Saturday night was spent on the deck in long, meaningful conversation. I’ve always known that the Playhouse is a thin place, but Saturday night’s conversation was a powerful reminder of just how much.

Kev and Beck had to leave at zero-dark thirty to get home for family activities. Wendy and I cleaned up, finished a little work, and then headed out on the lake for a long evening cruise. On Monday we cleaned up the house and packed up for home. My folks arrived about 2:45 and we showed them the new toy grandpa has to play with (He’s already fixed the horn and replaced a broken exhaust cover. Thanks Dad!). Wendy and I hit the road for home about 3:30.

 

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Let Summer Begin!

For me, summer is always the season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. At the lake, the two three-day weekends are the bookends of the busy season. This past winter was brutally long, cold, and snowy. I have been really looking forward to Memorial Day weekend this year and, with it, the unofficial start of summer.

It was a busy weekend for the Vander Wells. Saturday was Suzanna’s high school graduation open house. Wendy was in high gear last week baking and making preparations. I spent a lot of time at the end of the week getting the yard and patio cleaned up and ready for the throng of guests. It was a gorgeous day on Saturday. Mom and Dad Hall came down from Boone to help with the festivities. Mom and Dad Vander Well also came down from Des Moines along with Taylor. We also had sister-in-law Bonnie and the kids make the long trek from Arizona to celebrate Suzanna. Suzanna was, indeed, celebrated. The last of the seven Hall kids to finish high school and head off on life’s road.

By the time Wendy and I got things picked up and cleaned up it was about 9:30 Saturday evening and we passed out on the couch. The plans was to head to the lake on Sunday to meet the VLs who had headed down to the lake on Friday evening. Wendy and I went to church and took the morning and early afternoon to get things packed. We finally headed out mid-afternoon and arrived at the lake in the early evening hours. The wonderful VLs had the lawn mowed, the house prepped, wine poured, and a steak dinner ready for us! Talk about spoiled! 🙂 After getting the kiddos to bed, the adults sat and talked late into the night.

Memorial Day morning was spent with coffee and conversation on the deck, playing with the kids, and taking a little walk. Wendy and I headed into town mid-day to run some errands and catch a matinee of the new X-Men movie (it’s good, btw). By the time we returned it was supper time and the VL crew had vacated the premises to head to their time share down on Table Rock Lake. Wendy and I grilled some salmon and concluded Memorial Day on the couch in front of the final few episodes of the second season of Homeland.

We’re working remotely from the lake this week and looking forward to having the Roose’s here with us next weekend!

Memorial Day Weekend 2013

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It was a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend at the lake with the VLs and the VWs sharing in lots of sun and fun. The weather was cool and the water a little chilly, but the sun was warm and the moon was full.

Tom & Wendy arrived on Thursday evening and the VLs arrived late that night. The sun was out despite the air being a little cool for most of the weekend. Tom spent most of Friday fighting with two Waverunners that were fresh from the shop but still weren’t working right. One eventually did work for the weekend but the other one ended up back at the shop. Friday afternoon was spent at Captain Ron’s with dinner on the patio there. Tom received a visit from an old school buddy and his friends in the late afternoon who joined in the excursion to Cap’n Ron’s. The adults huddled out on the deck in the evening as the full moon rose.

Saturday morning was spent playing Disc Golf and enjoying the gorgeous weather. A boat ride to Bulldog’s Beach House was the perfect lunch excursion. The afternoon was spent  with afternoon naps a definite requisite. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner and conversation.

Sunday was a day spent in the sun getting sunburned. Tom inflated the Relaxation Station and we enjoyed floating on the water and soaking up the rays. Chad manned the grill for a burger and hot dog feast and the adults watched a movie together in the evening.

Memorial Day dawned with a run to Sunrise Donuts with the whole crew. The men then managed kid duty while the ladies went shopping in town. We enjoyed one last meal together before the VLs packed up and headed home.

Chapter-a-Day Esther 8

Purim street scene in Jerusalem
Purim street scene in Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The day chosen for this event throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes was March 7 of the next year. Esther 8:12 (NLT)

Each May, the community where I live (Pella, Iowa) has a large festival to honor the Dutch heritage of the town’s founders. Our community of 10,000 will have upwards of 100,000 guests descend upon us to feast, enjoy one of the many parades, see people dressed in traditional Dutch costumes and (if nature cooperates) to enjoy the half-million tulips blooming around town.

When I was small, Memorial Day was a time when I would accompany my Grandma Golly to the cemetery to plant flowers on the graves of family members and to remember them. When our girls were small, my mother took them to the same cemetery to plant flowers on those same graves along with the grave of my grandmother who had stood there with me.

As a lover of history, I like feasts, festivals and commemorations like our annual Tulip Time or the simple act of placing flowers on family graves on Memorial Day. I think it’s great when peoples, families or communities celebrate their heritage or keep a significant historical event alive for subsequent generations.

For those not familiar with the Jewish culture, you may not know that the story of deliverance we’ve been reading in Esther is celebrated each year with a holiday called Purim. The festival’s date is based on the Hebrew lunar calendar, so the date moves on our calendar each year and lands in February or March. In 2013 Purim will be celebrated from sunset February 23 to nightfall on February 24.

The celebration is rooted in four obligations:

  1. Public reading of the story of Esther
  2. Sending gifts of food to friends
  3. Giving charity to the poor
  4. Eating a festive meal

In an age when change happens so rapidly and culture is pressing forward at a break-neck speed, I often wonder if it will become increasingly difficult for future generations to appreciate the past. I personally believe that it is more important than ever for parents and grandparents to instill in children and grandchildren an honor and appreciation for heritage, history and key events of the past that provide a strong foundation in times when both the present and the future seem shaky and uncertain.

Chapter-a-Day Deuteronomy 34

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No one knows [Moses’] burial site to this very day.” Deuteronomy 34:6 (MSG)

In a graveyard in France is the burial plot of Jim Morrison, the charismatic, drug addicted lead singer of The Doors. When my friends travelled abroad in college, it was a favorite tourist spot. I would get pictures sent in letters of the gravesite covered with graffitti. Songs have been written about it. I’ve heard countless stories of people going to join the groups who continually sit arond the grave, hold vigil, and party to memorialize the poet and musician.

I compare that to the childhood memory of going to the cemetery before each Memorial Day with my mother and grandmother. We’d place flowers on the graves of great-grandma Daisy and my grandmother’s sister, who died at a relatively early age. When my daughter’s were small, they accompanied my mother as she continued the tradition of visiting the graves of family and placing flowers there as a Memorial.

Throughout the journey I have presided over many funerals from strangers to loved ones. I’ve watched many different ways that people handle the death of the body, how families respond to that death, and how the dead are remembered and memorialized. It’s prompted me to think about my own death and how I would like to be remembered.

While I fully understand the tradition of visiting graves and memorializing the dead, I have come to prefer the idea of cremation and the scattering of ashes in a special place. The truth of the matter is that when this journey is over and my body breathes its last, my spirit will arrive at my eternal home in heaven with Christ. My wayfaring sojourn will complete. I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I don’t want loved ones visiting the burial place of my body only to have it subtly reiterate a message of death, burial, and grief. I would rather have family and loved ones gather at one of their homes to feaest on a good meal, drink good wine, share good memories, and raise their glasses to toast those memories, laugh together, and celebrate my eternal homecoming.

Reading today’s chapter, I was glad that Moses’ burial site was lost and forgotten.  I can only imagine the gaudy religious spectacle it would have become by now. Because it is forgotten, the story of Moses can live in my mind free from the struggle of idolization that occurs when burial plots become religious shrines.