25 May 2009

Happy Memorial Day

The above are replicas of the honor certificates for my first cousins once removed, Paul and John DOYLE. They are the sons of William Leo DOYLE and Ellen "Nellie" (REGAN) DOYLE. William was the son of my great-grandfather, John J. DOYLE. Replicas created from the honor certificates posted at the WWII Memorial site (http://www.wwiimemorial.com/default.asp?page=home.asp).

The photograph below has been featured often in my genealogy blogs as the photograph that started me on my ancestral journey. It is a marker for the same John J. DOYLE honored with the above right memorial.

There is no shortage of markers for my first cousin once removed John J. DOYLE:

Below is the grave marker for Thomas F. DOYLE, son of my great-grandfather John J. DOYLE, making Thomas my grand uncle.

Below is my mother's brother James "Jimmy" O'Rourke, 1929-2005. It is one of my favorite photographs of him.

I know that I have several military veterans on my paternal lines as well, but do not have a listing of who nor photographs or certificates to use in this memorial. While documentation of their service is lacking, gratitude for it is not.

Thanks to both our veterans and active members of the U.S. Military. The importance of today is not lost on anyone.

17 May 2009

The Sunday Spook

It was the middle of a long, hot summer in Tucson, Arizona. Temperatures outside reached 105° in the shade every day -- what little shade can be found, anyway. Car seats and steering wheels scorched the skin that touched it the instant contact was made. Waves of heat drifted above the pavement: Waves that could actually be seen rippling above ground level. While most people turn on a hot water faucet and wait for the water to warm up, people in Tucson turn on the cold water faucet and wait for the water to cool down! That's how hot it gets in Tucson, Arizona.

One particularly hot day, an eerie occurrence arose at the cemetery off Grant Road. People driving by noticed the busy-ness off the large cemetery, commenting that they'd never seen the drive circle so packed with parked cars. What was even odder was the fact that people were not sitting in their cars with the air conditioning blasting through the vents as they waited for a sole loved one to run back from the hot field after placing flowers on a gravesite. No, sir, no ma'am. People in this cemetery were sitting in the grass, standing around chatting with strangers, or praying calmly at graves. Why, people were even parking in the lots next door to the cemetery and walking to the cemetery, clamoring to step foot within its fences.

(photo courtesy of picasaweb.google.com)

It became so busy at this cemetery that the police were called to control not a funeral procession, but the crowd that had gathered. There was no need for this, however. Not a single temper flared and everyone made room for whoever wanted to stand in their midst. One last strange thing about this phenomenon? No one stood with even a hair falling outside the rope fence along the cemetery's borders. Why, one might ask?

Because while the rest of the county boiled with unbearable heat, the cemetery grounds were blessed with a coolness that belied the world beyond its midst. As long as people were fully within the confines of the laughable rope "fence" they were cool as cucumbers on a crisp winter salad.