We went back home, well my mother's home for the funeral. We visited the family farm which held so many incredible memories for me as a child. Like the time my cousins (all older than me and all boys) took me on a snipe hunt to the north 40 (literally). I was probably four or five, lost in the sky-high corn and at least smart enough to know that I shouldn't wander lest I risk getting more lost, so I just sat down and cried. My uncle came through the corn like some kind of jesus to save my little lost soul - complete with the late afternoon sun blazing behind him creating a holy aura. He said, "What are you doing out here all by yourself Suzie Q?" as he lifted me up on his shoulders to take me back to civilization. I told him the whole story and as I recall I got homemade ice cream after dinner that night but the boys certainly did not.
My brother and I remembered fishing with my grandmother at one of the many ponds. The day when I caught blue gill after blue gill and the boys caught nothing was one of my favorites. The day when grandma, always in her overalls, caught a big old snapping turtle and made a special show of pissing him off for our entertainment was one of his favorites. I was always in awe of my grandma's skills with a knife when chickens were involved. My uncle and the rest of the men would lot slaughter cattle and hogs which was also a special treat to watch, especially because we knew the yumminess which would come later. The best part of these days was the huge family gathering at the end of the day. BBQ chicken with all the cousins out under the trees.
We went to the country church, built by my great-great grandfather and cared for by generations of my family until they could care for it no more. My grandparents and my parents were married there and countless babies baptized.
We buried my uncle in the small country cemetary where generations of my family are buried. It sits on top of a hill and looks over miles and miles of rolling Missouri hills, rich with row crop and livestock. I visited with cousins and second cousins and counsins of cousins learning about how they survived, or not, the Missouri River floods of this past summer. One cousin lost his hardware store and decided to retire. Another was able to save their house but since their business is raising and moving houses, they are all too close to many who couldn't save their homes, despite trying. I visited another cousins "new" home, built in 1861, complete with hidden levers which were intended as tools to call the maid. Evidently the maid never comes these days.
We spent some time on the near-by wildlife refuge where we saw thousands of migrating pelicans and several areas of pure stillness and peace.
Overall it was a good trip, quick with way too much driving, but very, very fulfilling.