Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day brings lots of memories to me - most of them visiting cemeteries and putting flowers on the graves of loved ones.  I didn't much care for cemetery visiting until I spent time with my Mom decorating graves in the 1990's.  I learned how consoling it can be to remember my ancestors and to hear the stories of great people I never knew.  The land for the Catholic cemetery in Cottonwood was donated by my great grandfather Georg Seubert.  The headstone indicates that he was Geboren (born) Feb 4, 1849 and Gestorben (died) Nov 29, 1898.  It is possible that all Seubert descendants get a cut rate on their cemetery plot - I only paid $25.00 for mine !

This is the Kopczynski row.  First head stone belongs to Jake and Gertie Kopczynski, then Mom and Dad, then Carole.  I think my plot, along with Joan's, is next to Carole's.

I'm so grateful to Sheila Kopczynski for filling the pots with seasonal flowers, changing them out several times a year.  Sheila married Jim, a grandson of Jake and Gertie. 
My Parents 

My Great-grand parents
Grandparents - Lena is Georg Seubert's Daughter

The views sometimes take my breath away.   I wonder if my ancestors noticed all the gorgeous views?  The cemetery was probably plotted long before the first railroad trestle was built.  Now several homes dot the country side.  The original cemetery is quite full - two new sections have been added and several people have found their resting place in the expanded cemetery.  I appreciated John and Karen taking time to help me put the flowers on the graves in the cold, piercing wind.  Today Duane and I enjoyed better weather as we picked up the flowers.  I'd hoped the Wren's, who we saw at the Country Haus on Friday evening,  were not appalled that we were already picking up the flowers.  Marianne just commented how organized we were because "we are just now getting around to it," she said.  

The Greencreek Cemetery is just as beautiful...  so well cared for and getting full!  Today I ran into Mary Schaeffer Lorentz and she told me another acre had been purchased for the next generation.  


 John got a kick out of the inscription on Father Ken Arnzen's headstone

Duane agreed to drive through the Greencreek countryside to have another look at the Wessels farm.  Harry and Tillie sold their farm in 1965 to Delmer and Joann Sonnen.  I don't know when this sign was last updated, but the only Wessels name on it now is Elmer Wessels - the maker of the famous Wessels honey.  I marvelled at the number of little farms in this area and how our ancestors supported their large Catholic families with just 320 acres!
This view of the Wessels farm looks pretty much the same as it did in the 1960's - the barn and outbuildings haven't changed much.

I think I've morphed into my mother as I remember this Memorial Day!  I have a curiosity about courageous ancestors I never knew and an empty place in my heart for those that helped form me as a Kopczynski.  I think the oldest ones are proud of the way they are honored in their final resting place.  It's typical now to see the names of the children on the back of the headstone, but I'm wondering if we should consider another kind of legacy to leave - a quote, a scripture verse, or favorite saying that would tell our ancestors a little more about us.  I would need a huge stone because I have so many favorites and would have a difficult time choosing just one.  I've always hoped I've been a friend to many people and made a difference in their lives - maybe I could be something as simple as:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Littleton Vacation with the Gaeke's

Ryan was two in December
Marilyn and I traveled to Littleton earlier this month and enjoyed several days with the sweet Gaeke family.  The children delighted and entertained us so there was little need to go shopping or sightseeing.  We just enjoyed watching them play on the swings, eat popsicles, read books, ride books, put puzzles together, and eat nutritious meals!

Paul will be seven in November!
Grace just turned four!

Our IPADs were a big hit.  I had to put some new apps on mine - Tap Zoo & Paint Sparkles!

Daddy Paul and friends began the set up of the new Play Area 

Grace and Ryan wasted no time learning to climb the climbing wall
Ryan has no one to push him so he swings on his belly!

Why would we need any other entertainment?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hiking in the Craig Mountain Wildlife Reserve

I joined eight wonderful people today and hiked about six miles, in the Craig Mountain Wildlife Reserve.  The sign at the rest stop indicated we were at 4689 elevation.  We drove from Lewiston, out to Waha, and then about 16 miles up and up until we reached an old logging road, gratefully inaccessible to motorized vehicles.  We passed several groups of ATVs and watched even more unload at the rest stop area.  It was a gorgeous day, but we did see a little patch of snow in the shade.

Scott Fletcher is one of the

organizers of the hikes and he also does a lot of research and scopes out the trails long before we join him.  He told us about the cabins that were used by loggers many years ago.  Now they've fallen into disrepair.  We couldn't help but wonder how these loggers managed to live in this remote area...did they have a well or windows?  The moss growing on the logs added color and intrigue to the ends of the building.  Andena collected moss on the last hike to spruce up the pots on her deck so there was no collecting of moss today.

I loved the wildflowers - so happy in the warm sunshine!

Not all pristine!

Enjoying the view, which made the 6 mile trek worthwhile!

Way in the distance we could see snow covered mountains, Eagle Cap, near Enterprise, Oregon!

The well-maintained out house was a welcome sight after all the water we consumed on the trail!

We enjoyed our packed lunches in the sunshine and then headed back to our vehicles, tired, but filled with joy and wonder at God's creation.  I also enjoyed the conversation as we hiked.  I learned that Kathy makes mosiac-like designs on flat rocks and teaches classes when she's in Arizona,  Sue has outlived two husbands, Yvonne told her children many years ago to find a gift in each day and Marie recently retired from teaching high school in Grangeville!

Scott took this picture of Kathy, Andena, Sue, Don, Carol, Yvonne, Marie, and Theresa

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

John and Karen - 20 years!

Seems like yesterday, but it's really been 20 years ago today that John and Karen walked down the aisle of Holy Family Church and said their vows mingled with a few giggles here and there.  Our dear family friend, Deacon Johnny Segura, witnessed the wedding and drew a few laughs reminiscing about Karen and John.  Uncle Larry took pictures and Kristen played with her new stuffed puppy on the altar.  The wedding planners failed to remove the cellophane wrapper from the tapers the bride and groom were supposed to use to light the Unity candle.  Never mind, John figured out a way to do it...

It took the whole family - both sides to decorate the Elks Club, prepare the food, and sew the bridesmaids dresses!  I think it was the most beautifully decorated Elks Club ever for a wedding thanks to John's Mom, Delores!  We really did have fun blowing up balloons and making those yummy salads.  We moms truly appreciated everyone's help that day.

Congratulations!  Let the fun, love, and joy continue for many more years!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Missing my Mom on Mother's Day

Patricia McLaughlin wrote in her column in the Tribune today, "Mothers can be so annoying....until you don't have one."  She wrote about the quirkiness of mothers - "one day you're a 9-pound handful that can't do anything but eat, sleep, cry, soil its diapers and spit up all over its clean onsie.  And minutes later, or so it may seem to your mother, you're a grown-up with a house, career and family of your own and all sorts of cockeyed ideas about how things ought to be and done.  For years and years, it's your mother's job to worry about you:  homework, eating right, brushing your teeth, hanging out with the wrong crowd, etc  How can she stop just because you've grown up?"  When I was a little girl my mother told me what to wear, what to do in my leisure time (embroidery, not read), who to play with, how often to go to Confession.  She didn't know how to tell me about female things, just showed me a sanitary napkin and said "you'll have to wear these every month, once a month, for the rest of your life."  She wasn't the first to tell me to wear deodorant, nor how babies were made.  She was a great cook, but never showed me how to bake a pie.  She was stoic, not affectionate, but I did see her cry once in awhile.  She had a tenderness that came out in her actions, not words.  She showed her love by doing the things she did well - baking, sewing, quilting, cleaning!!  Oh my how I appreciated her work to help me clean my house in Clarkston, both Clarkston houses - the one on 7th Street and then in 2002, the one on Chestnut Street.  I was 40 years old and she spent 3 days helping clean my house during the day, then washing windows and weeding the flower beds in the evening.  
Mom, at Karen & John's Wedding, May, 1992

If you attended Mass today you listened to Jesus words in John's gospel, telling us to love one another as He has loved us.  It seems so appropriate to read that gospel today, on Mother's Day, because it surely was the prayer of my mother that we siblings love one another.  She, in her own way, laid down her life for us over and over again.  At some point she stopped telling me what to do, but I don't think she ever stopped worrying.  Patricia McLaughlin wrote about a conversation with her mother, "I worry about you because I love you, she'd say, when I'd complain that she didn't need to worry so much.  I think of all my telephone conversations with her when I knew she was worried about Carole's illness, or Joan's attempts to find a job, or Karen's financial struggles, or Connie and Garry's crops, or Marilyn walking the icy streets of Spokane delivering papers, or Maureen's fertility challenges, or Larry's babies not yet baptized, or yet another stressful assignment for Don.  I wonder if I told her not to worry so much or maybe she told me that she and Dad sent money to the missionaries so they would pray for all the things she worried about. Today I know I miss being worried about.

Thank you Mom for loving me and worrying about me!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kacie's graduation from Nursing School

I attended the "Pinning" Ceremony yesterday for the BSN graduates from Lewis Clark State College.  It was a joyous occasion, filled with emotion, relief, anticipation, and ecstatic GNs (Graduate Nurses).  They all have the huge hurdle of passing their state boards ahead of them and will be reviewing 3500 questions that could be on that test before they can officially put the letters RN behind their name.    Shannon Rauch, chosen by her peers, addressed fellow nurses, faculty, and others in the audience with wise words, including, "be patient with these students the next few weeks as they prepare for the State Boards."  My friend, Kacie Bramell, an employee of Juniper Meadows, walked among her peers and received her pin from her mother.   Kacie's worked on this degree for five years, often filled with anxiety before tests and clinical experiences at various care facilities in town.  It's quite an accomplishment because she continued to work throughout the college experience, one year winning an Emeritus scholarship for her efforts!
When Kacie saw me come into the lobby at Valley Christian Center she came over and gave me a big hug, thanked me for coming and said, "I think I'm going to cry..I'm so happy you are here."  That's the kind of nurse I want taking care of me when I'm frail and afraid! She makes every resident at Juniper Meadows smile when she joyfully greets them and tells them how much she's missed them!  Jodi, her supervisor, continues to teach and train Kacie by giving her auditing responsibilities.  She's also included her in assessments and writing care plans and negotiated service agreements.  Someday she'll come back to work with the elderly, but for now we have to let her experience acute care in a hospital setting.  In the meantime we benefit from her happy spirit, her contagious smile, and caring attitude.  When I got called back to work at Juniper Meadows recently, she made a point to tell me how happy she was to see me - she has that ability to make people feel special, probably the best quality a registered nurse can have!!!!  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grace's Pink Birthday Party

My sister, Marilyn, traveled to Littleton, Colorado, last week to celebrate Grace Gaeke's fourth birthday.  We've made it a tradition since our Mom died and Grace has no Grandma Kopczynski to spoil her.  Grace is the middle child, but no worries -- her Dad calls her the "Little CEO."  We were a little worried when she came downstairs in a yellow dress!  I didn't know if Maureen would convince her to change for the party!  She likes choices and have two pink dresses to pick from seemed to help!

The extended family got into the spirit of the Pinkalicious party and Grace sat still long enough for this picture!

Aunt Theresa, Grace, Maureen, Karlee, and Aunt Marilyn

The craft project making princess wands
The pink princess friends
Individual doll cakes!
I think Grace learns a lot from her super organized mother!  She wasted no time taking her gifts to her room, even putting the new pajamas in the proper dresser drawer, then organizing the doll tea party!

The Princess Bed
Thanks, Gracie Girl, for sharing this special birthday party with your substitute grandmas!
We look forward to next year!
Even the yard-sale wallet had to be pink!

Happy Pink Birthday, Grace!!!