Thursday, March 20, 2014

There's a Great Day Coming!

I've been doing a lot of genealogical research this past week.  I have to begin with caution each time I start to climb my family tree because I sometimes forget to do other things.  Like laundry.  Or feeding my children.  Or sleeping.  (All over rated if you ask me.)  While doing some research recently, I found another "cousin" who lives in the Valdosta, Georgia, area who has a blog called "The Pendleton Genealogy Post".  She mentioned that she was taking part in a genealogy blog challenge called "52 ancestors in 52 weeks".  While I'm a little late to start the challenge this year, I think it's a great idea and should be a neat way to get a little focused research and documentation done.  (I'm sure you will find it hard to believe, but I often lack focus.  I know.  Shocking.)  I plan to try to "unofficially" tag along and share some of the neat things I've discovered about my relatives. 

Anyway, I don't have any Pendleton branches on my tree (at least not that I have found so far!), but we do both descend from some of the same Dashers.  I'll share with you later what I'm learning about these brave and determined men and women who came to America to escape religious persecution.  They were very much involved with the Restoration Movement in America, I am proud to say!  Interested much?  Well, you'll have to hang on.

What leads me to today's post is the Dasher cemetery in Lowndes County, Georgia, just outside of Valdosta.  My grandmother was born and raised there.  (In Dasher.  Not the cemetery!)  And that's how we get to today's post...
 
I was very close to my mother's mother, Mary Marie Copeland Gafford.  As I said, she was from Dasher.  She and I made a lot of trips together.  When I was young, I rode with her.  When I turned 15, I took over the driving.  (Grandmothers are sooo much more laid back than parents!)  A minister at a church in Statenville, Georgia, always got our names wrong and called us "Misty and Maria", so we took those for aliases.  Just in case! 
  
 
Here we are in 1999.  Still getting into trouble!  See that mischievous grin on her face?
I'm sure we were laughing about something as someone snapped this picture.
  
We made a trip to her home in Georgia just a few months before she died in 2002.  (I was a few months pregnant with Jewell who was due on her birthday, October 14.  She also knew that Jewell was being named after her mother, Jewell Ruth Dowling Copeland.  Unfortunately, she died about 3 weeks before Jewell was born.)  While we were there, we made one last pilgrimage together to the Dasher Cemetery.  I remember her telling me (again) the story of how as a child, she would sit in the old Dasher church building and look out the window at the graves while the preacher would talk about how "the dead in Christ will rise first".  As a child, she connected the Second Coming with the Dasher Cemetery!  She once told me she had reservations about being buried in Greenville, Alabama, even though my grandfather was already there waiting on her.  She just wanted to make sure she didn't miss the Lord's Return!
 
 
Here's a picture of what the Dasher church of Christ looked like right before it was torn down in the mid 1950's.  I'm not sure which window she would have been staring out of, but the cemetery was just outside.

 
This is her in 1928 when she was about four years old.
Probably about the time she was gazing out those church windows, daydreaming...
 
 
 
There is no date on this picture, but I think I remember her saying it was taken around her high school graduation, before she got married.  She graduated in May and then married in August 1941.  Isn't her dress beautiful? 

 
Here she is at my wedding in 2000.  So pretty in pink!
 
She was so much fun.  We loved being together from the time I was a little girl.  I remember coming home from Georgia with her once (a way we had both driven a million times).  We were laughing about something and missed our turn.  That tickled us and as we were laughing about that, we made a U-turn and went up a one way street!  That made us laugh even harder and we had to pull off the road and compose ourselves!  I don't even remember what we were laughing about in the first place, but it doesn't matter.  The memory is what matters.  She was my grandmother, but more importantly, she was my friend.  I really miss her!  But I know regardless of where she is buried, she'll be ready when the Lord comes back!
 
P.S.  I have all these images of me and her in my mind, however, I had trouble finding actual pictures of us together.  This is a lesson to me to make sure I pose for pictures with those who mean a lot to me!  As mothers, we are often the one on the back side of the lens, taking the pictures.  We want our kids to have pictures of us to show their grandkids, right?  Let's be sure to hand the camera to someone else next time and make sure we stand still next to the ones we love, long enough to not only capture the image in our minds, but on film.  Or disk.  You get the idea!

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I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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