We passed through lots of country that looked like this.
As we got closer and got off the highway, it looked more like this, a view that will look very familiar to people who grew up there. I have even more rural farm pictures here.
Grandma lived a long and eventful life. Even though the end had been near for a while, it's always hard to say goodbye. But even our short visit to the farming towns where generations of my family lived and carved out lives for themselves has given me a new perspective.
Sometimes I find that I let myself get caught up in the craziness of life and I start whining about how busy I am and how hard things are. But you know, I'm not a single parent to nine kids with no source of income other than selling the eggs from our chickens. I don't have to chop my own firewood like my great-grandmother did, and figure out how to feed an extended family on nothing but a pig or two a year, a small vegetable garden, and the peaches from the peach tree I grew from a peach pit. Generations of people I come from just set their collective Norwegian jaws and made things work the best they could with no complaining. And for the most part, things did work out.
After 1400 miles of discussion and introspection, I think the best possible tribute I could give Grandma is to emulate her work ethic and her independence, and to make things work out regardless of circumstances, no complaining.