This tenacity, this perseverance, in keeping hold of all those ties to the past is beyond price. What have we, as families, communities, or nations, if we lose our collective memory? Philosophy is a pretty slippery thing and not that solid to boot. But our loyalties to a ball team, a country school, a church, a far flung but extended family, keeps us grounded and gives us common cause.
When the kids were all little, we had a family tradition of picnicking on Memorial Day, then making the rounds of the local cemeteries and visiting the graves of family members old, older, and oldest. From Hunter on the west to Blanchard and High Prairie on the east, with St. John's and the Grange and Tarkio Home in between, we'd take peonies or little cemetery boxes from the greenhouse. Each stop we'd gather around close to hear over the ubiquitous wind the stories associated with this or that family member. I'd work hard to keep track of various aunts, uncles, and generations. We haven't done this for a year or two and, with the new marker up north, its time we gathered up the next bunch of kids and caravaned again.