Sunday, August 16, 2015

Old Time Adventures

Another busy week in the Virginia Chesapeake mission.....and a brief catch-up on other happenings from last weekend.
On Saturday, August 8 we decided to take a short trip to Suffolk and see if Elder Ashton could find some cemeteries to take pictures.   There are MANY cemeteries back here, but he is finding that most of them are so large he just doesn't have time to get them done.   He feels as if he has hit the jackpot when he stumbles on a small cemetery where he has the time to take pictures of every marker.   So he was pretty excited while on our way to Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk we came across this small cemetery just beside the road.

The small roadside cemetery - Elder Ashton said he took about 20-25 pictures.  I thought this was a peaceful resting place even though it was right next to the road.   Note the sweeping tree branch that seems to arch over the graves.

Some of the graves were in a little nook under the trees.   If you look closely you will see that some of the leaves are already turning red and orange.   I'm thinking that fall foliage back here is going to be beautiful!

Elder Ashton getting in and cleaning headstones off before taking pictures.

After we left the roadside cemetery we headed on into Suffolk to try to find Cedar Hill Cemetery.  On the way we passed this plant that I thought was very interesting.

An old building.   Elder Ashton guessed that it was probably it was probably from the early 1800s

We finally made it to Cedar Hill Cemetery.....and it was huge.   The graves seemed to go on and on and on.   The skies were gray and a soft rain was falling and dripping off the trees.   I think that must be a common type of weather around there because, as you can see, many of the headstones have a coating of algae on them.

As we drove down the tunnel of trees, splashing though the puddles, I couldn't help but wonder about the thousands of people buried here and what their lives had been like.  There were lots of LARGE trees lining the lanes and I thought they might be Cypress trees which are quite prevalent out here.  Then I had a "duh" moment.....this is called CEDAR Hill Cemetery....these must be Cedar trees :)

Notice the tree in the foreground that is nearly completely covered with a climbing vine.

There is a large monument honoring the confederate dead and also the soldiers who participated in the Siege of Suffolk.  This battle/siege took place in April and May of 1863 and was supposed to strengthen the area and protect Richmond from the Union troops.

Upon leaving the cemetery, we traveled to the Railroad Station in Suffolk.   It is a charming building and was last used in 1958. 

The spiral staircase that is in the Railroad Station.

The front of the Train Station

Another view of the front of the station

Monday, August 10, we were back in the office and during our Monday meeting the President asked me to take on the responsibility of returning four cell phones to missionaries parents.   As you can see from the picture below, one of the fathers had been thinking ahead and given directions for returning the cell phone.   When I called him to discuss returning the phone, he said he had purposely sent it with his son so the missionary could call before he left the airport in Salt Lake.   We generally don't think about any inconvenience to not having pay phones available because we all have cell phones.   I remember when Curtis was leaving from Salt Lake, we were in the airport with him and MANY missionaries were lined up to use the pay phones.   Now there are not pay phones available.   Soooooo, the father just laughed and said sent it on home.   One of the other parents said, "Oh, he wasn't supposed to take that but it is a throw away phone anyway so just throw it away."   Society keeps changing!

I finally got all addressed verified and 3 of the 4 phones sent back....for about $2.50 per phone :)

These pretty little flowers are growing on the corner close to our house.   I think they may be some form of Lantana like we have in Arizona, but they grow a little taller than what we see there and I was interested to see the pink and yellow flower combination.

Saturday, August 15

Following Elder Ashton's Saturday morning bike ride, we headed toward Williamsburg for a little sight seeing.   We had not gone far when we ran into a traffic jam that was moving along VERY when I noticed a sign for Lee Hall Mansion at the next exit, it didn't take much convincing to get Elder Ashton to take a short side trip in hopes the traffic would thin a little by the time we got back on the route to Williamsburg.

I thought it was interesting that they launched a hot air balloon from here in 1862....and also thought it was sad that Lee went bankrupt soon after the war.   From the looks of the property, he was quite affluent at one time.

Looking toward the house/mansion from the main road.

There must have been much fewer trees in the 1800's because you can't see the mansion from the road now.

I was excited to see this----it looks just like a stately southern mansion that I have read about in books!

Another view of the mansion.....note the intricate woodworking.

Interesting to see where the meals were a building separate from the house.   I need a separate kitchen to keep from making the house so hot!

A side view of the brick kitchen.

The entrance to the brick kitchen (facing the mansion).

Another view of the mansion from the lane leading up to it.

Remember those beautiful white magnolias?   This is the seed pod that appears after the blossom is gone....intriguing!

A privately owned home in Williamsburg.....not open to the public but an imposing site anyway.  Look at the woodworking on the columns!  It sits right next door to the church described below.

I didn't know it, but Williamsburg must be toured on foot or on bicycle and it was hot so we didn't cover too many places.   We did make a few blocks to visit this church with a small cemetery in the back.   We were hoping that Elder Ashton could get some pictures of headstones, but the cemetery portion of it was all roped off.   The church was very interesting!

Interesting to read this plaque about when the bell in the tower was rung for specific celebrations.

As we walked through the church I noticed there were names on the end of the pews indicating who sat in those pews.   I wonder if our name will appear on a pew in St. Johns and in Gilbert in a hundred years indicating we sat in our specific pews ;-)

I was taken with this plaque......notice some of the spelling

We found a "famous" name on the end of one pew....."give me liberty or give me death".  Further research when we got home indicates that while serving as members of the Virginia House of Burgesses, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry attended worship services in the church.

We visited Merchant's Square and could have spent lots of money, but I tried to be frugal.....we only bought cheese from the cheese shop and candy from the Wythe candy shop.   By then I was hot and perspiring like crazy so we returned to the truck and drove down one street that had a sign that said "historic district" where we found some nice homes.

This home does not look like it is very old....but is very well kept.

This one looks old.   Notice the conduit running down the tree trunk....I'm thinking it might be used for Christmas lights.

I loved this gnarled split trunk on this tree!

Another well-maintained historic home!

As we crossed the bay on the Monitor/Merimac Bridge/Tunnel, we noticed a number of pleasure craft out on the bay enjoying the beautiful day.....I wonder what kind of fish they were catching?

Interesting leaves on this plant outside the missionaries apartment.   I noticed that a large number of leaves were black on the end and looked like they had been burned or were dying.   Elder Ashton mentioned that he thought they were burned by something like sun through a magnifying glass and tongue in cheek said he really didn't think young men missionaries would do something like that ;-)

I've been intrigued by the bushes outside this house.....for most of the year they are a dark green color (you can see that below the cream colored tops).  Right now they have send out fingers of tiny cream colored flowers and are quite showy.....those fingers nearly double the size of the bush.

Again, after another week here in Virginia, I am struck by all the sacrifices that have been made over centuries to allow me to live the life I enjoy the freedom that I do.    I try to imagine what it would have been like during revolutionary and civil war times and I have decided I would not have been strong enough to handle what they did.....give me the comforts of the 21st century, thank you very much!   

We are blessed to be here now!

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