Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

You may or may not recall that two years ago for Thanksgiving, I was delegated to bring the all important Cool Whip to Thanksgiving dinner. I was okay with that - one cannot have pumpkin or chocolate pie without Cool Whip, so I was pleased to be the bearer of the artificial dairy product for our feast.

Last was the dinner rolls or beverages...I don't recall which, but neither of which were a very important part of the menu.

So here we go again. The family feast prepared by my mother-in-law that we look forward to all year long. It's only a few days away, and I'm already starting to salivate in anticipation of the meal that will be waiting for us.

I asked her a week ago what I should bring for dinner. She simply replied, "I don't know yet." One week later I have yet to be given my assignment, and with the holiday just a few days away I'm not sure I will be given one.

Nothing. I'm not sure if I should be offended or elated.

I manage to feed a household of 5 every other day of the year, so certainly it's not that my cooking is that awful. So this year, I will simply take it as a sign to relax and enjoy someone else's hard work. And I will be giving thanks for my family that I'm surrounded by, that we are all healthy (and well fed!), and yes! There's still Cool Whip for the pie!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sticks and stones...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

I've come to realize over the past few days, that this is one of the dumbest phrases that I've ever read.

The fact is that words said publicly or privately, whether they are said in honesty or in jest, can and will hurt when they are meant to. And I'm not just talking about a wounded ego. Sometimes the words can strike a chord so deep inside, it's a heartache that is second only to the loss of a lover. It's a devastation felt that makes your heart drop out of your chest and hit the floor with an audible "THUD". And don't forget the level of disappointment in the people we believed wanted only the best for us, but the words formed on their lips or under their fingers on a keyboard show a different side to their intentions.

It makes me wonder what it's like for politicians during their campaigns. How can they just sit back and watch when their opponents drag their names and reputations through the proverbial mud puddle? More to the point, what about their families? How can a spouse, a child, a parent keep a civil tongue when outright lies or despising comments are spread about their family member to an entire community?

I still don't know, nor do I think I will ever understand the power of the loose tongue. Lord knows I've been guilty of it myself in the past - "sharing" my feelings on a person or topic of discussion before really thinking through the repurcussions of my words. But may I always be reminded of the effects of these last few days - they weren't actual sticks or stones that were hurled, and they didn't leave visible bruises, but the sting and the hurt that was felt was painful just the same.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

8 years ago...

Today marks the start of what turns out every year to be a very sad, depressing period of time. For my mother especially, but also for me as I struggle through my own memories & heartache. So forgive me as I blog my way through some sadness over these next few weeks.

8 years ago my husband answered the phone while I was reading a bedtime story to our son. I could tell from the conversation that something was wrong, but I had no idea.

8 years ago, my step-dad was driving home from the gym, down a road that he had been on more times than we could ever count. For whatever reason, his truck crossed the center line, and hit another car head on. My mom's world changed forever.

Larry was her knight in shining armor, who treated her like the queen that she is. They had actually known each other when they were teenagers - my mom and her boyfriend at the time, had gone out on double dates with Larry and his girlfriend at that time. Years later, they became reacquainted when Larry showed up to referree one of my high school basketball games.

You might say the rest is history. They dated, got married my senior year, and were set to live happily ever after. Until that day 8 years ago...

I took a photo 8 years ago that was part of a Father's Day gift that we gave to Larry. I had no idea that it would become part of his memorial service that same year. But I like to look at it and it makes me smile today remembering how much Larry loved his grandsons then, and knowing how much he would cherish all of his grandchildren today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday...

"I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.
Richard Llewellyn

I can not just post a picture and let it speak for itself. I don't care if a picture says a thousand words, there's always a story that needs to be TOLD.

This has become one of my favorite "contemporary" photos. I have many favorite ancestral photos, but this one taken just 11 days ago means so much to me.

I did not even know my paternal grandfather until I was maybe 10 years old. He wasn't spoken of often in our home, and when he was it was not in a positive light. I didn't understand what had happened other than my grandparents were divorced, and grandpa was not around. Oh, eventually we were introduced and a relationship was established - but even that diminished when my own parents were divorced, and as I grew up, got married and moved out of state.

When I was bitten by the genealogy bug, word spread to my grandfather and his wife (who until that point was the only "family historian") and soon, that relationship was slowly being restored. Phone calls, letters, birthday cards, and family history "goodies" are now constantly being exchanged between us.

When I first discovered that my paternal ancestors had been in New York before they settled in southern Ohio, I couldn't believe my luck. It was like coming full circle. My husband and I had moved to western New York years prior for his job and to be near his family - yet here we were just a few hours away from where MY family once lived! And the first time I travelled that short distance and found the fields they had farmed, travelled on the roads they had travelled, and stood at the grave of my 5th great-grandfather on that hilltop cemetery - THAT was the place where I felt connected to my ancestors.

I also knew that I wanted to share that feeling with my grandparents and my father. Moses Hulbert and his family lived so close to where I live now, and I don't believe it was an accident that this interest in my family history hit me after I had moved here. 11 days ago, I was given the opportunity. Once again I travelled the roads, up and down the hills, and found myself on that hilltop at the cemetery of my 5th great-grandparents. This time with my father and my grandfather.

Grandpa turns 85 in March. I know our time together is limited, especially as distance becomes a struggle. I am grateful for this weekend that we were able to share together as family.