Sunday, May 31, 2015

Memorial Day, May 25, 2015--Annis-Little Butte Cemetery, Annis, Idaho

Memorial Day, May 25, 2015--Annis-Little Butte Cemetery
Darrel L. Hammon

Memorial Day 2015 was again one of those days we spent in the cemeteries of eastern Idaho, particularly the Annis-Little Butte Cemetery, near Menan, Idaho, where I was raised. Both Joanne's parents and my parents are buried there along with my little brother Heber and my niece Alisha. Plus, Joanne's grandparents, uncles, and cousins are buried there as well.

Joanne and her sister Lou Jean
This year Memorial Day could be considered one of those "hit and run" kind of days. Joanne and I along with her sister Lou Jean and husband Lonnie trundled up to Annis for the day, leaving pretty early in the a.m. to visit a couple of cemeteries. One of the most beautiful cemeteries is the Annis-Little Butte, located in Annis, Idaho. Many people were there, placing flowers on graves, visiting with and meeting relatives and friends they hadn't seen in years, and reliving old stories and earlier lives. These stories probably ought to be written down if they haven't already.

We spent some time at Joanne and Lou Jean's parents' grave. This was the first time we had been back after their mother joined her husband in July 2014. It was rather poignant as we stood there and took in the newness of it all. She loved flowers; so, it was wonderful that many flowers surrounded their graves. She can finally smell them now!

Luke and Wilma Boltz
 My parents are buried there in one of the newer sections of the cemetery. It is sometimes hard to believe they are gone and that I am an orphan. I remember when Renae Olaveson Hampton said to me, "Darrel, now we are both orphans." Tears came to our eyes. Yes, I am an orphan; Joanne is now an orphan.

Dean and Barbara Hammon

Next to my parents' grave is my brother Heber's grave. I was deeply disappointed that we hadn't finished the headstone project for him. My siblings and I will visit about this. My sister Delaina and her family were there, visiting Mom, Dad, and Heber. He left us too soon.

Heber James Hammon
Cemeteries are those kinds of places where you can relive the past, seek the future, and experience the present. One of the pasts was my visit to the graves of four from the Tranquilino López Family. Each time I visit the Annis-Little Butte Cemetery, I walked to where Tranquilino, Mario, Juanita, y Benjamin are buried. They were killed in a terrible automobile accident in 1978 in Menan. Graciela, Eduardo, and Bulmarito all survived but not without consequences. Mrs. López was at home. What a tragedy!

Another past experience was working for Bud Hart.  He is buried along his parents' grave and not far from Joanne's parents' grave. Bud was one of my mentors growing up. I worked for him and his father on their farm. It was an incredible experience working for them. Both my brothers and my cousins Deloy and Terry each took a turn working for the Harts. I think they liked the work ethic of the Hammon boys. 

The famous "Bud" Hart
I also went to visit my Uncle Wilford's and Aunt Beth's grave. Uncle Wilford is my Dad's older brother who loved to carve. I learned much from Uncle Wilford. He was a consummate Scouter and story teller.

Uncle Wilford and Aunt Beth
This is part of the group that was there with us: Joanne's sister Lou Jean and her husband Lonnie, their son Jason and his wife Kim with their three children: Thomas, Blake, and Abby.

The Clan
Cemetery visits can be enlightening and simultaneously poignant, visits that allow you to let emotions gush from your soul. These emotions remind us that we are human and that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us and fills us with peace and comfort when we need them. Today was one of those days. Families are incredible units, fathers, mothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and friends. And we are continually blessed because of them.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mothers: Women of God

Mothers: Women of God

Many happy Mother’s Day wishes to all the women I know and love, especially my lovely bride of 35 years and mother of our two daughters Anna Rose and Hailey.

I have watched Joanne from the moment Anna Rose was placed in her arms. She has always been beautiful, but at that moment of mother and daughter meeting and melting into one, it became obvious of the connection those two made and then again when Hailey emerged from the pre-existence to this world. I don’t know of anything that is more connective or more poignant than the relationships of mothers and daughters.

Over the years, the girls have spent a considerable amount of time with their mother, doing a host of things, from cooking to camping to playing tennis to watching movies to doing crafts. When they left home to attend college or even after they were married, they called periodically—sometimes frequently—to ask Joanne a question about this or that, a recipe, counsel about how to raise children, how to handle a difficult situation, etc. With ease of an eternal mother, Joanne has dispensed her ever-growing knowledge and wisdom to them and to numerous other young women who she has served throughout her service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Every day I am more convinced that if the young women would adhere to Joanne’s counsel and incredible example and faith, they would be better women, incredible mothers, and serving citizens. Joanne has and will continue to serve others well because that’s who she is and is becoming. Joanne’s influence on our daughters has been great, and I sincerely hope they continue to follow her example. Hailey recently wrote in her Mother’s Day card to Joanne: “I am me because of you! If they follow Joanne’s example, I know they will be better and more effective mothers and more holistic and loving people, now and forever.

It’s humbling to watch Joanne in action. I know for a surety that our kind and dear Heavenly Father loves her and protects her and watches over her constantly. When I am in her presence, I feel significant and loved and safe, no matter the situation. Her smile is infectious and grand. Her humility wilts me. I can only wish I can grow up to be like she is.

Perhaps, Elder Neal A. Maxwell described Joanne and a host of women throughout the ages most effectively: "When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this."

Joanne is a woman of God! I love her for being a woman of God and loving Heavenly Father in all that she does. She knows He is real and loves His children and wishes for them to come unto Him and enjoy the fruits of eternal happiness. For that is what women of God do: They know and follow His paths, humbly accept His Son’s gracious atonement, and helps others to come to know for themselves of Heavenly Father’s unfalteringly love.

Thank you, Joanne, for being a woman of God and for being the most incredible mother I personally know.

And so it is….and so it will ever be!