Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A time to Remember

Memorial Day is a special day amongst the Smiths for lots of reasons. Every year we trek to Smithfield Cemetery (yes. Smithfield. It is named for our 5 Greats Grandfather) in Smithfield, Utah...just North of Logan. We visit the site of our loved ones, place flowers on the grave and take a picture next to the same headstone every year. We then cross the town to our spot at a local park and commence the feasting. Grandma Smith used to make homemade fried chicken when I was young, but later bought it at the local KFC. It has come to be known as Smithfield Chicken amongst our cousins. My dad would make homemade root beer and everyone would contribute a salad or a dessert. Or both. There was always a ton of food. We would then talk and share a little talent show with each other. Then we would head over to the ball field and start a game of softball. We would play Frisbee or horseshoes and when I was a lot younger there seemed to always be some sort of water fight that would break out.

It sounds like a pretty normal picnic/family get together. And to almost everyone it is. The reason it means so much to my family is a little different. My dad is the only Smith...we have been over this before...so it is up to him to carry on that legacy. Not only that, he and my mom lived across the street from each other all through Jr high and high school but never went out until the end of their senior year. Their first date was to Smithfield on Memorial Day for a family picnic. They had a picture taken of them next to a tall headstone...same one we still stand in front of every year. Except for the 2 years he was away on his mission, they have never missed that picnic, or the picture. It is kind of a milestone every year for us to see how the family grows and changes and who is not around to be able to make it to the picnic.

While we were driving down to Smithfield, Ryan made a comment about how some of my cousins decided not to come this year since Grandma would not be there. They will probably never come again. "This tradition is going to die," he said. I don't think it will. Not amongst my brothers and sisters anyway. As long as my parents are alive they will still go. As long as they go, I will be there and I know they all feel the same way.

But now it is an opportunity to visit Grandma. A time to remember her and all the wonderful things she represents in our life and our memory. It was hard for her the first few years after Grandpa died, and it was a little hard to be there yesterday. But it is important to think of those who have passed before us. They are our heritage and the reason we are here. Passing on the memory of them helps define who we are.

I am a Smith and I will eat Smithfield Chicken every year on Memorial Day. Even if it's only my little family who go.

Side Note: I have lots of pictures to put with this post. They are on my camera at my brothers house. I will post them later I guess.

My cousin who also attends every year also wrote about the event. It was fun to compare her memories to mine. You can read her account too if you want!


Sandi said...

That's great that you won't let the tradition die. I read your cousin's post too.

Growing up, we only had three cousins, and we weren't that close to them. I am trying VERY HARD right now to make sure that doesn't happen to my kids. Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one trying. I want to know my nieces and nephews, and when they open the birthday card from me each year I want them to know more about me than my name and the fact that they can count on a $2 bill each time. Sometimes I don't understand why my relatives don't feel the same way I do.

Robyn said...

I LOVE your post! It's awesome to read different experiences and feelings about the same thing--especially Grandma. Can you believe how close she was able to get to ALL of her grandchildren?! It's nice to learn about her relationships with all of you, and the different things you remember about her, the times you shared. I feel like I get to keep getting to know her even though she's gone.

We will forever be going to Smithfield on Memorial Day, til the day we die. I wish more of your siblings kept blogs--I love being able to stay in touch, even though we can't see each other very frequently. Tell them to get on it! I feel bad some of the other cousins chose not to go this year. I feel sad that maybe they never really "caught on" to how special it was--is--and how much it always meant to grandma, and how much it could mean to them. Anyway...makes me really sad for them. But I am happy to know that we'll all keep going and seeing each other!

PS: There is a lady, Cheryl Lewis, whose sister is marrying Steve Davis. Cheryl (maiden name Jenks, I think) went to school with your mom, dad and Wendy (was in the pep club with Wendy). She is a very close friend of my mother-in-law and was in her ward, and somehow came across your blog about Smithfield, then my blog about Smithfield. She emailed me and said how much she loved our posts, and how she's excited for her sister to be marrying Steve. Anyway...small world!! :)

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