Sunday, July 16, 2017

Two celebrations in Grand Rapids

OK, so technically we were in the greater Rockford or Comstock Park area but still just a 10-minute drive north of home.

The festivities involved getting together with various members of Susan's family at Clear Lake for lots of good food (think grilling chicken and pork), plenty of good drink but mostly just to be together to share stories of family news and recollections of absent loved ones.

First up was celebrating the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Susan and Bernice and I drove to Raybrook to pick up Aunt Fran and the four of us soon found ourselves sitting on the terrace overlooking Clear Lake.

It was a gorgeous day at the lake, perfect for losing oneself in the quiet of the trees and water.

l-r: Karen Hyde, Jennifer Galloway, Aunt Fran Van Halsema, Bernice Vandenberg

Susie and Laurie Ten Have-Chapman

Karen Hyde

Gordon Galloway, Scott's dad

Our second celebration was unplanned but closer to home as it were and arranged at the last minute by Susan's cousin Jennifer: celebrating the life of Susan's Aunt Frances Jean Vander May Van Halsema who passed into the next life on July 14.

All five of Fran's daughters were here to be with her at the end (or the beginning if you prefer).  Four of them along with several grandchildren and cousins gathered at the Cottage on Clear Lake yesterday afternoon along with Fran's sisters-in-law Bernice VandenBerg and Betsy DeKorne.

The food was delicious, the memories of times past recalled with great affection and plenty of smiles to wipe away the darkness of the hour.

ready for the grill!

Jim DeKorne


Alicia and her mom Pam


Bernice and Greta
Earlier that same day, while I was out enjoying a beautiful afternoon looking for the graves of men from Ottawa County who had served in the 3rd Michigan Infantry, I came across this poignant and timely epitaph on the tomb of Wilhelmine and Frederick Bartels in McNitt Cemetery.

wife of Frederick Bartels
died January 17, 1898
75 years, 4 months 19 days

Dear Mother, in earth’s
Thorny paths,
How long thy feet have
To find at last this
Peaceful rest,
Safe in the arms of God.

Frederick Bartels
died March 6, 1899

74 years 11 months 10 days

Dear Father, with a
Reverent Hand
This to thy memory given,
While one by one thy
Household band
God reunites in Heaven

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