Websters dictionary defines de-ja vu as "the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time". Have you ever been researching a family members history, and suddenly realize you have the same interest in their occupation, hobbies, or just felt like you can remember similar events of their life happening to you? My sister Janet often states there's a thin veil between the living and the dead. I believe, after researching my family history for several years, that everything we are, our occupations, our hobbies, and our actions, all relate to actions of our ancestors. Sound corny?, perhaps, coincidence?, maybe, but too many events have occurred to myself and my family to make it seem unlikely. Here are some of my stories, perhaps you can decide.
During the Christmas season of 1994, my 3 year old son Cody asked us many times if we could hear the Christmas bells. Being a busy time of the year, my wife and I just figured he had heard the bells on TV or the radio. But one night, as I carried him to bed, he asked me"if I could hear the bells?" As it was a quite night, I told him I could not hear them. I asked him who was playing the bells, and he said "Grandpap was playing them." I asked him where Grandpap was playing them and he said "he was playing them at his house." I know now more then ever that my Dad is watching over us, and especially Cody and that makes me feel pretty good. I guess its like the song that goes.....Let me tell you a secret about a fathers love......a secret that my father said was just between us.......He said Daddies don't just love their children every now and then......Its a love without end....Amen.
My joy for that holiday season was knowing that his Grandfather was watching over him, keeping him safe, and happy with the bells.
I often think about what happened the night my Dad passed away. I was at work when I was told to call home right away. Denise had said that my Mom had called and said that my dad had collapsed and the Medics were working on him and that they were defibrillating him. Well thats not a very promising sign. We flew home and made it to MonValley Hospital while they were still working on him. He must have been hangin on as it had been 1-1 1/2 hour since I had gotten the call. Later, Denise had told me that she was giving Cody a bath when he began to cry, and that she couldn't keep him from crying. Just after that is when my Mom called about my Dad. I wonder if Cody knew at that moment that Dad was dying... On the day of my Dads burial, another thing happened that helped me realize that everything was OK with Dad. It was a beautiful, clear, crisp day, the kind my Dad, who had been an Air Force Pilot, would have liked. The service was nearing the end, a bagpiper was playing Amazing Grace. It was pretty emotional but a perfect sendoff for my Dad. During the song, my sister Janet said she looked up in the sky and for a brief second, saw a silvery jet with a set of contrails. She turned to point it out to Tim and when she looked back, it was gone.
I think that it was a sign that all was well........
Once again, I believe my ancestors were with me. I was at Edinboro University attending the weeklong Balmoral Bagpipe school. As I was coming down a stairwell from practice, I heard another student playing Piobaireachd, an ancient for of bagpipe music, and Jim McIntosh, probably one of the world's best piobaireachd teachers, was chanting along, as was taught for generations. I was compelled to stop and sit in the stairwell to hear this beautiful music being chanted and played on the Bagpipes. As I let myself drift off listening to the music, I vividly pictured myself as a lad, sitting on a rock on a sloping, vividly green hillside in Scotland watching someone, who I felt would have been my grandfather, with whitened hair, chanting the piobaireachd, and another man, who I felt was my father, playing the tune on the pipes. I pictured it so clearly I felt as if I was there. It was so beautiful and so moving that it brought a tear to my eye. The student finished the song and switched to the practice chanter and the feeling was gone. I 100% feel that one of our ancestors lived that event on a mountaintop in Scotland many years ago. I hope, in the time that I spend on this Earth, that I can contribute something so beautiful so that years from now, a future descendent can have a similar feeling. If nothing else happened this week at pipe school, I will consider it worthwhile because of this event. There are some Scottish songs that just seem to whisper to me, beckoning me to remember........
Valentines Day journey
During the year of 1995, my wife and I went away to a local Valentine's Day weekend getaway, leaving our son at my sisters. After enjoying a pleasant weekend, we decided to take a scenic drive back to my sisters, through the area of Washington County, PA where many of my family had homesteaded. Our goal was to have a drink at the Century Inn, a tavern on the National Road, Route 40, founded in the 1700's. I had hoped to look at the many old artifacts about the Inn , looking for any references to my family, and perhaps, hoist a cold one at the same bar as 200 years worth of the Jones' may have frequented. We took a round about journey, exploring many of the back roads of western Washington County. At my sisters, we made arrangements for a family tour of the area the following week, as my sister knew where most of the homesteads were located. Wouldn't you know it but the majority of our travels took us past most of our family landmarks. Past the Huffman-Swagler Cemetery, the school of my grandparents, the Pigeon Creek Church & Cemetery, now abandoned by on land donated by our family, past barns built by our ancestors of the 1800's, and the homestead of my grandparents. All until then, unknown to me. I now feel a strong pull of my heritage anytime I travel through this area, as if, my ancestors are "calling me home".
Angel's watching over us
Many nights, putting Cody to bed, he stated that Granpap Jim and Grandma Helen, (my wifes mother Cody never met), watch over him. He says they are very white and friendly and he would point to where they were standing, watching over him.
Dad, I know you're out there and I just want to say "Thanks and Godspeed"
To be continued....
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Comments can be sent to Larry Jones
6 January 1997