Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tenney's Never Quit

Alpine, AZ is where my Grandpa Tenney grew up, and where generations of my grandparents have been buried.  At our Tenney Reunion 2 weeks ago, we had an excellent "Cemetery Tour" in which several individuals were asked to dress up, stand by a grave stone, and act out vignettes about the life of a particular ancestor.

Mitchell was Warren Moroni Tenney Sr. - who came with his father over Lee's Backbone with the first Saw Mill in Arizona.  His mother and siblings stayed in Utah and left the family and eventually the church.  Because of this one man's choice to take a leap of faith, all the generations that have followed have had the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.  This Great-Great-Great Grandpa almost died on the trip, and the only thing that saved him was the faithfulness of his oxen, whose tails got ran over by the wagon wheels, because they sat on their haunches to prevent the load from toppling down the mountain, which would have sent Warren & his father to their deaths.  They set those faithful oxen out to pasture for the rest of their lives after the trip was over.
I was asked to portray Ella Hamblin Tenney (wife to Warren Sr. and daughter of Jacob Hamblin & Priscilla).  Ella grew up in New Mexico, which is close to Alpine.  She got married when she was 16, and Warren came riding up the day he met her in a buck-skin suit.  He wanted to marry her, and she said only if he promised to take her to the St. George temple to be sealed for eternity BEFORE their first child was born.  Once she became pregnant, he kept true to his promise, and they made the trip to St. George, UT.  She was so ill, and the wagon ride didn't make anything easier.  She couldn't keep any food down, and the jarring of the wagon was extremely difficult as they journeyed for TWO MONTHS.  They were sealed & she felt so happy to know that this child would be theirs forever.  On the way back, the snows came early, and they had to trudge through 3 feet of snow.  It was difficult, but they made it back safely, and raised  THIRTEEN children.  What a legacy and example, though. They traveled for FOUR MONTHS (sacrificing work and other endeavors) just to have the blessing of the temple in their lives.  Faith.  Love.  Devotion.  Testimony.  Priesthood Power.  Unwavering.
Before I got to the Cemetery, I looked over and saw a little old lady walking with my cousin Kalin.  I wondered who it was.  When she got closer I realized it wasn't a real little old lady, it was my cousin, Tenney pretending to be my Grandma Wanda Peterson Tenney.  When I realized that I started laughing, and then I got a little choked up.  THEY LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE MY GRANDMA AND GRANDPA TENNEY...what's funny now is that the picture doesn't really look like my grandparents looked, but I'm telling you that in the cemetery they did look like them. Haha!
Oh, Grandma and Grandpa Tenney, do you know how much I miss you?!  You look awesome here.  :)  LOL!
Then we walked over to their graves and...Grandma Velma was there...being played by Paige.  Uh...then I had the thought, "You should probably take a picture with Grandma Tenney, Grandpa Tenney, and Grandma Velma."  So I snapped the photo really fast and laughed.  It was funny, but awkward, too.  Basically in a nut shell Grandma & Grandpa had 9 kids and got divorced.  My Grandpa eventually remarried, but my Grandma didn't, and after Grandma Velma died, my Grandma & Grandpa Tenney got remarried. they're all in heaven hanging out together.  And this is the first picture we've ever taken with the 3 of them.  So I laughed because it was kind of funny.
I've never met Velma, because she died the year my parents married, but she was a good person.  She had never married, but was willing to take on the "baggage" of a divorced man with 9 she knew what LOVE means.  And without a doubt, my Grandma Tenney also knew what LOVE means, as she prayed for my Grandpa even after they were divorced, and married him again even though 'a lot of water passed under the bridge'.  She essentially kept the family together in so many ways.  And my Grandpa Tenney also knew what LOVE means, as he did everything in his power to keep us all together in the end.  These are all 3 "Tenney's Who Didn't Quit." 
At any rate, I believe that when I meet Grandma Velma that I will like her, because I definitely love and adore my Uncle Warren and his kids and my Aunt Kem and her kids. 
 Gerry & Dana were the son & daughter-in-law of the ancestors Mitch & I acted out.

 This is hilarious to me, because Nathanael AKA 'Walt' took the picture by Grandma & Grandpa's gravestones for us, and he completely missed the gravestones.  Hahaha!  I guess it just means I will have to take my children back there someday.
 Thank you very much: I got Uncle Warren and his kids in the photo WITH the gravestones. 
 What the?  Grandpa likes pirates?  :)
 Grandpa's parents
 This was Grandpa Tenney's older brother.  He died when he was 2 or younger.  This is the reason why my grandpa was named Lewis, as opposed to Warren, like the 2 generations before him.  On another stone in the graveyard of a baby, I saw the words, "Ours for a moment, God's forever."  What faith and love the parent of any lost child must have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 The Lollipop Shoppe was awesome, and expensive.  Remember that if you ever have to eat or purchase anything in Alpine, that it's been imported 5 hours or more from a larger city, so there's a mark up.  But even if you pay $4 for a lollipop because you couldn't afford the $8 ones, or the $300 one, that it's okay.  And it's still fun.  Make sure to take pictures, because your wallet says you might not be going back.  J/K.

Also remember that when you buy a lollipop, that the best part is the anticipation.  Usually they get dropped in 0.5 seconds after you leave the shop, or the slobber weakens the stick at the base in 2 minutes and either way, you end up with a broken lollipop.  Haha!

 I talked back to the wallet, and we went back to the Lollipop Shop with Julia & Nathanael.

 This is my cousin, Julia.  She was SO EXCITED to see the baby donkey.  She also received her mission call at the reunion to THE SAME PLACE AS WARREN MORONI TENNEY SR.  Isn't that AMAZING?  I believe this is in no way a coincidence - I believe this was meant to be.   Her mom got the letter and with permission, opened it and scanned it and emailed it to Julia so she could read it.  How neat that she got to read her call to the family while we were in the place that our ancestors lived and that she'll get to serve the people in the same place that our Great-Great Grandpa did - and all this happened on the same day we were telling stories about him.  So awesome! 
 My darling Borden nephew came with us - he kept calling us "Tingey's" because he's used to hearing that instead of "Tenney's".  Haha!
We stayed at the Homestead to save on costs so that we could spend it on the imported food in Alpine.  J/K  My Lego heads looked AWESOME with the camouflage design that happened by the dust, dirt, and rattling on the bumpy roads.  I couldn't have designed it better!  It's washed off by now, though.  Bummer!
To finish out our trip, Mitch left the reunion and went to Scout Camp, and I stayed at the Homestead with my mother-in-law, nephew, and kids.  We had a great time.
Tyson had a heart attack one day when they went to catch snakes at Snake Lake.  The cows were by the pond, and one had horns.  He came running back alone and nervous.  "MOM!  There's a bull at Snake Lake, and Caden & Emmett won't listen to me."  I told him I'd go down there and started walking, "WAIT!  Do you even know how dangerous a bull is?  Have you even ever been near one before?  What if something happens to you? (And then he choked up.) I don't want something to happen to my little brother, or my best cousin!"  I told him I'd be fine and to say a little prayer.  Fortunately the bull was not even paying attention to the other boys, and we drew them all to safety, but those DARN COWS camped out for TWO DAYS STRAIGHT, and the boys weren't ever able to go into their territory and catch the snakes on this trip.  Caden was such a tough guy as we walked back to the cabin, "I could run faster than a bull."  I'd like to see him try. :) 
On the way back from the reunion, Miles had pink-eye, so I had to chill out in Springerville and kill time while I waited for the on-call doctor to talk to the nurse and call us in an eye-drop prescription.  What do you know?  Springerville has an air-port.  We saw maybe 15 little planes there.  The boys liked it.

We also drove past a little river.  :)

 This is why the Homestead is the BEST place in the world for little boys. 
 Miles getting spoiled.
 Sleeping in the swing.
 Air port picture out of order, but I love Tyson's new fetish with making faces that go with the pictures he poses for.
 Miles was so cute walking with Grandma Borden. She took us all to McDonald's on the way home.
And that's it.
Don't worry, Tiff--you're in the next post
(there's simply too much to tell in this post since it's already so long.) 
Stay tuned--I'll blog again in a few days.
Happy 4th of July, everyone!!!!
America is all about loving God, loving FAMILY, and loving FREEDOM.  I am so grateful to my ancestors who NEVER GAVE UP so that we could enjoy the freedoms of this GREAT NATION.  Their journeys were hard, but they SAW US - they envisioned what the future would be like, and THEY DID IT FOR US!!!!   Thomas & Ann Tenney were the first Tenneys to come to America, and every single Tenney in America can honor their name today, even if their last name is spelt differently, they are connected.  My mom's side has a history of being great patriots, too, and have the deepest work-ethic of anyone I've ever known - true American Spirit.  They had dreams and made them happen - they grew their family and grew their businesses, and bettered the communities they helped establish.  Amazing people!  I am also so grateful for the heritage my husband's family has - his g-g-g-grandfather on his mom's side Homesteaded some land that keeps the family & gospel ties strong and continuing for their posterity today.  And my husband's father is a modern-day-pioneer in his faith and without a doubt thru all his boys & grandsons (and granddaughters, too), is establishing a family name that will carry on his example in living the gospel.  I am so grateful for the blessings we have, for the heritage we have, for the sacrifices made so we can have our Bill of Rights.  All the people who came before knew that freedom isn't free.  We must to everything in our power to preserve this great nation so the children who are to come can enjoy the privileges we enjoy and so that the sacrifices of those who have gone before are not wasted.
God Bless America!