Memorial Day means different activities for people. It boasts the beginning of summer with higher temperatures, parades, motorcycle convoys and barbequing. The real reason we as Americans are able celebrate this holiday is due to the men, women and their families who have served our country in the armed forces, and have paid the ultimate price.
I cannot fathom life without my family, so those who have lost a loved one for our freedom is not taken lightly as we hold those families in remembrance.
Family is important! Each year, we travel to Roan Mountain State Park, Tennessee, to take up residence for the weekend in the park’s cabins. Next year will mark the 30th Garland Family reunion and so as you can tell, we’ve been sharing this experience with siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins for quite some time. It’s an amazing view the Smoky Mountains provide, but the time we spend as a family is the best!
Away from cellphone signal and Internet connection, we literally “unplug” from our busy schedules to do fun outdoor activities, cookout and yes … smores!
Why Tennessee? To make a long story short, my maternal grandmother was born on the Roan along with 5 other siblings. Two boys and four girls, in pairs were split up once her mother passed. The [oldest children] boys stayed on the Roan with my great grandfather, the two middle children were sent to an orphanage, and the two youngest girls (this included my grandmother) were sent to live with an aunt in Ohio.
As the years wore on and the children grew up, they were only truly familiar with the sibling they were paired with after leaving Roan Mountain. My mother, 29 years ago did some searching for her aunts and uncles, and piece-by-piece, clues were uncovered to where they were finally able to reunite, thus beginning a family reunion each year.
Documenting these precious moments in time is the real reason I continue to scrapbook. I enjoy reviewing the special moments shared with loved ones.
It’s amazing to think that so long ago, my grandmother enjoyed a few of her childhood years on the mountain we revisit each year. There’s a sign hanging on the wall in our cabin that reads, “Living in the mountains just means you’re a little closer to heaven.” What an awesome tradition to be able to revisit with my grandmother’s memories of home and feel her presence on that mountain.
Happy Memorial Day!