Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cemeteries


I don't know what's happening in Robert and my heads but of late, it's been a season of divesting ourselves of 'things' which mean a lot to us, and giving them to our children, who (we hope) will honor and respect them and will one day pass them on to their children.  Last night around midnight, Robert commented to me that he's ready to turn over the Hatch Sword to Jordan who was going to always get it because he carries the Hatch name, not because he's a male.  And yes, all my girls will always be a Hatch no matter what their married names are.  (and for those of you who don't know, Robert's mom gave him the sword after his dad died. This sword has been in the Hatch family forever altho when Marian found it, it was laying forgotten in some basement of some Hatch home in SLC, unused and unappreciated.  and Marian was never one to allow anything to go forgotten for long, nor was she ever kept from looking into places or touching things, whether they belonged to her or not.  We are just grateful to have been the recipient of the sword.  It has always hung on our wall.  We took it to be valued once and it is from that era.  See its history below.)

Decorating for the holidays is another thing we are downsizing, not because i really want to.  I just cannot climb up and down the basement stairs as well...plus, my time seems to be really short, or is it my energy level.  But this year, less seems to be more and it's OK.  The Vietnam Veterans come by every couple of month to collect what we don't want and this time they requested any Christmas items.  As we decorated the tree, we inspected every ornament to decide how much we loved it, needed it, cherished it...and the rest we will share.  I really ought to go down to the other boxes and do the same but am not sure I'll get it done before next Friday's collection.  I know I won't give up any of my Nativites, even the precious one from which Mary ran away and my aunt who originally made it for me, won't make me another Mary (ceramic, don't you know?)

Is DEATH looming?  I hope not too closely. But this morning, just a few minutes before I started this blog, I awoke and decided to read the newspaper before Robert gets up and we go for a swim.  And there was an article which caught my eye.  And finally, my mom's insistence that I visit her grave for all the major holidays and any other time, bringing flowers or wreaths ... well it got put into perspective.  (And yes, there's a lovely glittery gold wreath on her grave this Christmas already).

It seems a crematorium in England plans to sell electricity derived from the burning of dead people. The question was put to Rabbi Gellman of the GodSquad if he had any thoughts.  He is definitely in favor of inground burial, as I am. I do not want a drawer, nor a watery grave, and definitely not a cremation.  Here in part is his answer, the part that connected with me.

"Personally, I also favor inground burial because I believe in the spiritual value of graves.  A grave focuses our grief and our memories, as well as providing a visible and touchable history of our families that is useful in teaching our children about all the people who were responsible for the color of their eyes and the content of their characters."

Yes, the graves have long been this for my parents, grandparents.  I have seen their value for my friends who are really into genealogy.  I recognize that. But I get no comfort from visiting the graves. Usually it just makes me mad or sad that my loved ones are gone.  I like the idea of putting flower in my home on special occasions of my deceased relatives...such as the tree I bought to remind me of Aunt Bea.  So I think what I have deduced this early Saturday morning is that I give my things to my children because they are tangible reminders of me, of what they saw in our home growing up, and of course, I hope when I am long dead, they will remember me when they see these things, or wear these things, or touch them.

There are people who are minimalists in many areas...and altho I would like to be one of them, I am not...but I would never minimalize the people I loved, love, and will yet love. And until I am buried INGROUND, I will continue to find joy in each day and love my family and friends.

***This comes from the Introduction of the book, Roll Call at Old Camp Floyd, Utah Territory Soldiers of Johnston's Army at The Upper Camp written by Roger B. Nielson, my friend Debbie Weight's dad:

"On June 26, 1858 the Utah Army, as sent by President Buchanan to suppress the Mormon Rebellion, marched thru the nearly deserted streets of Salt Lake City. This portion of their route is well known in history.  What isn't well known is the Army's whereabouts for the next several months. Most assume they marched directly from their Camp on the Jordan River (west of Salt Lake City) into Cedar Valley and established Camp Floyd. They didn't. A portion of this study will disclose their location/s between June and September of 1858.  Another portion will provide identities and some personal histories of the individual soldiers within the Utah Army". 

And this from Wikipedia:

The Utah War, also known as the Utah Expedition, Buchanan's Blunder, the Mormon War, or the Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between LDS settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United States government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 until July 1858. While there were casualties, mostly non-Mormon civilians, the "war" had no battles, and was resolved through negotiation. 
     From 1857 to 1858, the President James Buchanana administration sought to quell a supposed rebellion in Utah Territory by Mormon settlers. He sent US forces there, in what was known as the Utah Expedition. The Mormons, fearful that the large US military force had been sent to annihilate them, made preparations for defense. Though bloodshed was to be avoided, and the U.S. government also hoped that its purpose might be attained without the loss of life, preparations were made for war. Fire-arms were manufactured or repaired by the Mormons, scythes were turned into bayonets, and long-unused sabres were burnished and sharpened.
     Rather than engaging the enemy directly, Mormon strategy was one of hindering and weakening them. Daniel H. Wells, lieutenant-general of the Nauvoo legion, instructed Major Joseph Taylor, "On ascertaining the locality or route of the troops, proceed at once to annoy them in every possible way. Use every exertion to stampede their animals and set fire to their trains. Burn the whole country before them and on their flanks. Keep them from sleeping, by night surprises; blockade the road by felling trees or destroying the river fords where you can. Watch for opportunities to set fire to the grass on their windward, so as, if possible, to envelop their trains. Leave no grass before them that can be burned. Keep your men concealed as much as possible, and guard against surprise." The Mormons blocked the army's entrance into theSalt Lake Valley, and weakened the  U.S. Army by hindering them from receiving provisions."

It is this last comment that connects to The Hatch Sword.  Apparently one of the soldiers was so hungry, that he willingly traded his sword for some food from a Hatch.  Folklore?  I have no idea.  But the army story is true and the hindering the army from getting provisions is enough to lead me to believe this sword and its accompanying story has merit.  But what it does have is a connection for Robert and his offspring...as Rabbi Gellman put it "Provid(ing) a visible and touchable history of our family....teaching our children about all the people who were responsible for the ...content of their characters." And let me tell you, my 5 kids and all their children have CHARACTER!











1 comment:

Lin Floyd said...

interesting story and comments about the sword and Marion the mother-in-law. I've become more sympathetic of her as I've become the dreaded mother-in-law. Lol!

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