Saturday, March 20, 2010
Family connections and a bit more
In January I wrote about the loss of my cousin and how it had impacted me to not put off things especially where it involves loved ones. Friday my cousin, her brother, came out to the farm to give me old family photographs that she had saved and which he now wanted me to have. You can see the stacks on the table to my left in the above photo.
He and I caught up on many years of family news. It made me so happy to hear him talk about the kind of woman his sister had been. There were so many caring things about her that I didn't know but now feel a glow at knowing those stories. What a good woman she was and to so many people. What a special day Friday was for me.
But to say Friday was special is to not begin to say what it meant to me. It was good to reconnect with my cousin, five years my junior, after so many years, and it had been a lot of years. Looking at the old photos and family information, as we went through them telling each other the stories we remembered, was wonderful.
We both had come late to an interest in our family's genealogy. I began researching it a few years ago long after so many of the old ones had gone on, and it was more difficult to find the information. I wish I had asked more questions when they were still around, but there it is.
Opening up these envelopes was the first time I had seen a photo of my grandparents' wedding day. You know how it is-- boys get the tools and guns; girls get the photos and household goods. I have the riding crop, a .38 (that supposedly my grandfather carried when he was running away from a posse with no clue why that might've been), some of the tools; but Friday was the first time I had seen a photo of my father's mother when she was 16 years old. That's how old she was when she became engaged to my grandfather. The photo below is their engagement picture.
In August 1903, they were married in Hills City, South Dakota. From everything I know, they had a happy marriage for nearly 50 years. My mother talked about the funeral for my granddad (I was very young and not there), and how my grandmother threw herself across the casket crying out his name (in my experience, she wasn't the demonstrative type). She really loved that man and you can't ask for much more than that from a long marriage, can you?
Today was like a gift that will go on giving as I have now a box full of photos and information on relatives, most of whom I have only heard their names. Friday was a very good day for me.
As soon as I wrote this blog about my magnificent day, of course, the fates stepped in. I heard horns honking outside, people yelling-- cows are out on the road. There has to be a leveling force in the Universe, doesn't there? A sense of humor maybe?
I walked down the road, grumbling all the way, watched the bull and cows' chagrined expressions, and eventually convinced them to go down the bank and back across the creek to their home where they stayed until Farm Boss returned from town to fix the fences. Fences at this time of the year are iffy at best with cattle ready to test them for that green grass on the other side. I can relate...