Sunday evening (the 18th) Eric walked into our bedroom, and woke me with a whisper bearing the news that Grandpa Harvey had passed away.
My mind began to spin. As much as we were preparing to go to South Dakota for his eventual funeral, it was so hard to put those plans into motion.
Eric gracefully helped me run some last errands, and we loaded up the car, and were on the road with Aquaman in tow the following Tuesday morning.
We quickly sped through Eastern Washington, and then Idaho, and began the trek through Montana. Geographically Montana is the longest state on the drive, but holy crap it feels like triple the distance of any other state.
However... Montana is one of THE most beautiful states to drive through!
We stopped in Laurel for the evening, and camped out at Luke and Amber's house. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the cousins and take in each other's company for however short it was.
Brynn and Tysen loved Eric so much we were invited to stay there on our way back home too!
We hauled ass through North Dakota, and made it to South Dakota with just enough time to drop off the dog, change and head to Milbank (Birthplace of Abby Kneeland) to the viewing.
We walked through the doors, and were immediately draped with hugs of love and smiles despite the sad event. It was so wonderful to see my family.
All these landscape photos turned out wonderful, I had to share them all. I am so in love with this place.
After the viewing, we headed back to Grandma's house, and got settled in at our camper (home for the week) and then had dinner together. Then, Shannon, Eric, Erica and I headed to the camper for sleepy time!
On Thursday morning we woke up and got ready, and headed into town to say our goodbyes. The service was held at Hope Lutheran Church and it was one of the most beautiful services I have been to in a long time.
Nicole delivered the Eulogy and as soon as she gets us all a copy, I'll share it here, because it was so beautifully written.
We then drove to Lebanon Lutheran Church for the burial.
At the burial we laid Grandpa to rest. Each of us placed a handful of dirt on his casket from the very land he farmed all his life. He was buried in the same church yard that he was baptized in.
After that, we went back to the church and had lunch with his family and friends.
I sat in the church, and enjoyed every moment.
This is the church I grew up in. The stage where I sang my Christmas carols and the very same location I received my first communion, right there in that alter.
There are a lot of things I miss about that little church.
And that is the steeple... repaired just a few years ago by my brother.
This is main street of Summit, SD. Don't blink, you might miss it.
Then, back to Grandma's for yard games, more food and family time!
And after much anticipation from Craig and Abby... Cousins Tank and Aquaman met for the first time!
And... we were sad to see they didn't really care to play with each other.
Aquaman and I went for a quick walk, and enjoyed the sunshine, and it made me giggle how curious he was with everything. Especially the giant Combine driving down the middle of the road.
This visit made me miss home... made me appreciate home... made me want to soak in every wheat stalk and sunset.
I even let Aquaman walk down the middle of Highway 81... because THAT's how much traffic is on Highway 81 now days.
Seriously... That face!
Grandma and Grandpa's house ♥
We were all hanging out on the back deck hanging out, when the Harvest moon decided to join us.
It was like a gift. an amazing gift! Seriously, the pictures can't even do it a shred of justice.
Back inside... Bruce was doing what he does best - Takes pictures, guess where I learned that from?
These sunflowers hung out on the table all day... Erica, Nicollette, Cara and Casey each picked one from a nearby field for Grandma. It was very sweet of them.
And though most of the time I saw my Grandma in tears after having to say goodbye to her Harvey, I snapped this shot of her laughing at something Eric had brought to everyone's attention... I love your joyful laughter Grandma ♥.
The next day, everyone started to say their goodbyes... I was thinking... but wait, I just got warmed up! It was too short of a trip, that's for sure.
These are my baby cousins Craig and Kevin, we played a LOT together when we were little! Mostly, causing trouble.
Shannon was the resident hair braider for the weekend.
This is Scott & Laurie's house ... see that camper? That was our home for the week.
This is my Pops... he has a very unique sense of style.
After saying our goodbyes for the morning (to the ones leaving) we headed out for a drive to explore the countryside a little... There is so much beauty in these next few photos... but mostly it's because it's my memories that bring them alive....
Bruce & Diane's Barn.... we had a mean hayloft swing off of that thing... not that I'd try it now. What were we thinking!?
Then we stopped by a straw field on a quarter of land that Grandpa still owns.
And a dragonfly joined our play time... Hi Momma!
These photos are probably the most emotionally attached for me... this is where I grew up.
We lived here from the time I was almost 2, till I was 13.
It's home to me, still feels that way when I drive into the driveway.
The current occupant doesn't keep it up quite like I would like to see, but it shows it's age in these photos. It's still home... I would love to move back and fix it up... but I love it in WA too much.
But seeing this place makes me remember that my Dad and Brother's hands built that deck... My sister and Mom's hands planted those trees... and see all the evergreen's in the yard (yeah, there aren't any, anymore.) My lawn mowing skills stunted their growth.
After touring home... We went over to Grandpa's OTHER quarter he owns... The Wheat field..
Be still my photographer's heart... I love a good wheat field.
My Sissy :)
Then we hopped over the road and checked out a Sunflower field... not sure who it belonged to, but we borrowed a couple flowers to take to Momma... so thanks random BloomingValley Farmer!
Look at that handsome guy :)
After the crop tour... we headed to Watertown to say hi to Grandma, Grandpa and Momma.
Then out to the Race Track to say hey to Kathy.
And last, but not least headed to Taco Johns to say Hello to my beloved Potato Oles.
We had more hang out time... and just enjoyed family :)
In retrospect, I should have gotten photos with ALL of my family... and I thought I had, but I obviously remembered wrong. But I nabbed Bruce & Diane!
Here we are all playing a game together!
Here's that wonderful Grandma of Mine... I so didn't want to say goodbye... I love you Grams.
Then Shannie and I snuggled into our bunk beds for the night ... and in the plackard on the wall made us giggle... so we gave it a heart for good measure.
The next morning, we hit the road again...
North Dakota... MONTANA...
By this time, Aquaman was plum tuckered out! He was ready to be HOME.
This was at a rest stop outside of The border of North Dakota... it's the "Painted Canyon"
And here we are back in Laurel...
That's miss Brynn... isn't she cute :)
She looks just like her DAD!
This is Tysen... He's adorable too!
Aquaman liked him :)
This is Ike... :)
This is a picture Brynn wanted me to take... I LOVE it!
Eric and Tysen played catch a lot... he likes Eric :)
This is cousin Lukie... I love him - thanks for the hospitality... wish we we had more time, and wish I would have taken a picture of Amber too!
With the first deep breath of seawater.... I melted into home... So glad tomorrow is Friday - it's been a whirlwind!