We left Marquette a few days early to attend my Grandma Hazel Jones' funeral in Rochester. On the drive down, the kids were really well behaved in the car. I was pleasantly surprised and was apparently expecting the worst. When we got to Indiana, we'd been driving for about 7 1/2 hours and still had 2 more hours to go. I told Anna that we were in Indiana and just a little more to go, and she said, "But mom, when will we get to Indiana's house?" I tried to explain what states were and looked at the map, but she just said, "Indi 'ana' is like me; 'Anna' Ellene Rayhorn."
It was so wonderful seeing so many family members at the funeral. Many I hadn't seen for years. Anna always loves to see her "new cousins" as she calls her second cousins. The first picture is of Anna climbing the steps to my Grandma Hazel and Pappy George's house in Rochester. I have so many wonderful memories there and it was a big, beautiful, old home. The next picture is of my mom holding Ben with my Aunt Janet sitting next to her, swinging on Uncle John's porch swing. Next is Anna with my Uncle Dick and Aunt Kathy's kids - Elijah, Jared and Wyatt. (My first cousins.) The last picture is of Anna and Wyatt swinging with Anna watching as Wyatt tosses around his beautiful curly, blonde locks. I wish I would have taken more pictures of all the other family, but didn't get the chance.
After staying in Rochester for a few days, we drove to Fort Wayne and stayed the night at my Uncle Harry and Aunt Linda's house. Anna loved it there. When we first arrived Anna and I received the complete tour of the property with my Uncle in the golf cart. The last time Anna was there it was winter and we didn't go outside. We saw all the trees he planted (Anna even found a nice juicy pear to eat, which she thought was the coolest thing ever and is pictured above). We saw his garden with all the different fruits and vegetables (we each had a delicious cherry tomato and Anna thought the corn was especially interesting). We saw the bees, as my uncle Harry recently started bee keeping. And we also saw the neighbors horses.
My cousin George and his wife Anna came over Sunday afternoon with their kids. Above is Anna, Levi, and Sam getting a ride with Aunt Linda in the golf cart. Anna and Natalie are eating lunch together. They played so well together - it was sweet! Benjamin and Seth also played well together. Here they are holding hands and they were also 'chatting' with each other quite a bit. Benjamin got so many, "He looks just like a Jones boy," comments. Of course, mostly that was from family that hadn't met Ethan, or they would realize that Ben looks just like him. I do have to admit that Ben and Seth look very similar.
Before I close this incredibly long blog/journal entry, I have to say a few things about my Grandma. She was an amazing woman. She grew up on a farm in Michigan. During WWII, she served as a nurse for the Army. All four of her brothers also served, even though as a farming family, only one son was required to serve. She married my Grandpa and moved to Indiana where she raised her family while working nights as a nurse. She was so giving to the less fortunate and always welcomed anyone and everyone into her home. I spent many weekends with her when I was younger and she would always take us swimming, to the library, bake cookies, and feed us like no other. Until I moved to Marquette in high school, we always had Christmas Eve at her house and many, many other large family gatherings. Grandma Hazel had 5 boys and 1 girl (including twins). From that, she and my Pappy George have 19 grand kids and 30 great grand kids. I know her legacy, influence and practical advise will live on for generations to come. It lives on in me.