This was my first experience with the death of a loved one. I felt all alone, far away from home, with no one there to comfort me. I put on my coat and went walking, with no destination, just going on whatever street I came upon. The cold stinging wind on my face felt so good to me. The numbness of my face matched the numbness of my mind... it was not until I received letters from the family at home two or three days later that my numbness melted and I could cry and feel relief.
Johnny is our only known relative to have lost his life while serving in the armed forces. I'm grateful he's the only one.
A Revolutionary War cemetery, tucked neatly behind the Paxton Presbyterian church, just minutes from our home, is the resting place for many of Harrisburg's most prominent citizens such as John Harris II, the founder of our city, and William Maclay, the first US Senator from Pennsylvania (a street in Harrisburg proper respectfully bears his name). Many of the Rutherfords lie here as well- it's my understanding that the family members were wealthy landowners that held a considerable amount of real estate in the area.
It is sobering to walk the small grounds, give a try at deciphering the dates on the tombstones- many of which have faded away with the passage of time. I love the simple tombstone belonging to George Washington which reads:
George Washington died Aug- 1898. Born a slave in Georgia. Came north in 1865 with the 9th PA Calvary and spent the remainder of his life in Paxton Valley. A faithful Servant and Exemplary Christian.
Not unlike many Americans, we enjoyed this extra day to play. The truck was loaded with our bicycles and we headed north on 81 to Stony Creek, where we biked to a fishing spot along the trail. Sitting underneath a cacophony of birds, next to the moss covered trees and stones, we replenished our hungry bellies and inhaled the beauty of the creek scintillating below our feet. Mr. Hero took three of the guys down a bit further where the water deepened, while Mr. Tailor stayed with me and filled me in on the events of his life. I was glad to sit and listen to his happiness, my fingers busy with the knitting needles-content.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail flittered on by as we were held by the vibrance of the moment. And we were happy- all of us.