Not for Cousins Only

My Joy and I can’t quite remember if it was at the end of spring or the beginning of summer that I began to talk about longing for a trip to Pennsylvania. Her husband enjoyed trains of all kinds, so she was nostalgic for a train trip. We do know that on April 14, she put her nostalgia and my longing into action. She purchased on our behalf two round trip train tickets from South Bend to Harrisburg. From Harrisburg we intend to travel by a rented car and have overnight accommodations arranged by Rachel. We hope to be in the Lancaster Co. area on September 11 and 12, and in the Franklin Co. area on September 13 and 14.

Sally, Ruth Ann, John Dennis

Sally, Ruth Ann, John Dennis

When my brother John passed away on June 21 new purpose was given to the trip. John’s daughter, Ruth Ann, told us she had received his ashes from Florida and that he had asked that they be scattered on the “rocks of Pennsylvania or wherever you choose”

Ruth Ann will join us on the afternoon of September 13 to select a place for the scattering, probably somewhere on or nearby Blueberry Acres. That is the small farm developed by J. Irvin and Ruth Lehman and where John and I played and worked before leaving home. Our children have wonderful memories of it as the home of their grandparents.

On September 14, Ruth Ann and I will be joined by Emma and Nora, her daughters from the D.C. area, and by my daughter Rachel. John’s son Dennis and his widow Sally are unable to come from Florida for health reasons.. We will keep them informed of our activities. We are a small family.

Marion Cemetery

Marion Cemetery

Our family will dedicate that Sunday to memories.  Some of us will attend the morning service at the Marion Mennonite Church. At noon our immediate family will gather at a local restaurant. At two in the afternoon we will gather at the Marion church cemetery. Ancestors of the Lehman and Martin clans are buried there.

Any of John’s cousins, or any one like Merle Cordell who remembers John as a Sunday School teacher, i.e. anyone who wishes to be with us for memories sake will be welcomed to that event.

Memorials are memory times, so we will wander among the gravestones and allow  memories to flow as they will, and be grateful for those who have gone before us.

piece of slate from the run that flows through Blueberry Acres

piece of slate from the run that flows through Blueberry Acres

We have asked Mahlon Eshleman, once married to Mary Horst, a first cousin to be with us.  Mahlon as a young man had worked for my brother. John’s children remember him as Uncle Mahlon. He was one of John’s few contacts from his Franklin County home and he chatted with him occasionally by phone. Any one reading this who wants to know more about my brother should click here and here.

We will sing a few songs and Mahlon will read a scripture, make a few comments, and pray. Then the immediate family will leave to spread his ashes at the place chosen by Ruth Ann.

On the next day My Joy and I will begin our journey to Indiana, All of the above is conditioned on a DV, (Deo Volente).  You may enjoy a link to The Beauty of Funerals, written in The Mennonite by a person of different culture but relating experiences like my own.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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5 Responses to Not for Cousins Only

  1. Marilyn Slabach says:

    What a trip, Martin. Living life to the fullest! Safe travel.
    Sharing your wisdom with this blog helps me thru the good times and not so good times in my life. Reminds me often how God is at work always. I am thankful for my family system values that taught me to accept ALL people just as they are and are becoming. We are ALL on a journey, and not one of us has all the answers on any given day or time. “Be still and know that I am God” comes to mind here.
    Blessings as you continue your ministry work.

  2. Alton Longenecker says:

    I would be delighted to join you on Sunday, Sept 14 for your walk in the cemetery, although I am not aware of any close friends or relatives interred in the cemetery. I would enjoy a very competent interpreter as the cemetery is rich in significant Mennonite history.
    However, Marion Church is located on the corner of Molly Pitcher Highway and Social Island Road. Coming from the south we would often turn west at Marion Church to visit my folks. Social Island Road brings many pleasant memories, especially crossing the hump back bridge over the Conococheague Creek and then up the hill to Turkey Foot. My folks lived just west of Turkey Foot for over forty years, over in Saint Thomas Township. Our sons still laugh about Turkey Foot. Yes, they know exactly where it is. I believe Blueberry Acres is within the Turkey Foot metro area.
    I will give further thought to having my ashes put on the rocks or into the Conococheague Creek. My Grandpa Longenecker was born within a very short walk of the Conococheague Creek just north of Chambersburg. Thanks for the inspiration, Martin. Blessings as you travel.

  3. Traveling South on Warm Spring Road, the road that branches off between Warm Spring Road and the Social Island Road will lead you to blueberry acres. Or travel south of turkey foot you will come to Lehman Road on the left. Turn left and you will come to what was once the David B. Lehman farm, and go down the hill and you will come to blueberry acres. The house has been completely remodeled by the present owner. I wish you could be with us in the cemetery.

  4. Marilyn Slabach says:

    I would like to read John’s book. Do you know where of if I could purchase it?

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