I've been thinking about this for some time, but it pesters me more this time of year. As the "baby boy" of my mother, as she always called me and the youngest of her eight boys, that means I come from a large family. And when you understand both my parents were from large families, and their siblings all had good size families (none with just one child, and a sister of my dad had eight girls), that means I have lots of uncles, aunts and cousins. Over the years lots have passed away, far too many for me to accurately remember. That is one reason why I started with Ancestry.com.
Cindy & I, here at Lucinda's Country Inn have written a couple Murder Mystery Weekend events. Then we knew it was time to do a third. We had talked about writing something to do with the Gold Country history, after all we live in the heart of that territory so it makes perfect sense to write about it. That is the other reason for Ancestry.com, to find some of my ancestors and to research the lives of the Gold Rush era. But what prompted me to write this post was meeting up with some folks at Windwalker Winery who had taken part in each of those two mystery weekend events. and we were with our friends who were part of our very first one we did at Lucinda's Country Inn. (That was our dry run where we got lots of feedback to make adjustments and lots of improvements.) So that got me thinking again about the subject at hand and I needed to write a new post.
Using Ancestry.com I have been able to write a lot for our third mystery. Ancestry.com has given me accurate timeline and linage for my family which I am using as the background and inspiration for our third Murder In Fair Play series.
I never fathomed this as a kid. At a large family gathering we kids had lots of cousins to play with and of course all my brothers. My parents and my aunts and uncles did aunt and uncle things and left us kids to do all those stupid kid things. Which we did from sun up to sun down. My mother's sister, Aunt Maude, and her family became probably the closest of all the family. Her two oldest, and being boys, helped take care of Mom's first born when he was just a toddler in the Oregon hills while the parents split cord wood to sell in Portland. Their first daughter lived with our family for a couple years when Peggy was a teenager. Sharon, the youngest and a year younger than me, and I have stayed in touch through the years, mostly letting each other know we lost another family member. Being from a large family, that means lots of deaths in the family over the years. You never think of anyone's death as a child, but now being a lot older and having lost all but one brother, Dave, I look at life a little differently nowdays. Family memories have become more precious. My thinking about family has been magnified with the passing of our son, Sean. I miss him more than I care think about. Yet, I think of him every day and I pray that we'll be together again.
Be it Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, God (Jesus Christ) or any other deity, all believe in some form of afterlife. Most people on Earth believe and pray they will get that eternal life. Many early philosophers, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and more, became believers in the opposite of our physical body which must be the spiritual body or the human soul that can live eternally. We all celebrate our religious beginning this time of year. We Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. After Cindy & I made our river cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary and we visited a chapel in Vicenza, Italy where a photo of the Shroud of Turin is placed at the alter, I became acutely aware of the fact Jesus Christ was indeed a real man before his resurrection. The image on the shroud is ingrained in the fiber of the cloth. True or not, fact or fiction, I can only tell you that as a Christian I was so moved by looking at that photograph I will always be a believer. Everyone has the right to their beliefs. I will not nor do I question anyone's faith. That faith is between them and their Lord God.
All this brings me to those pestering thoughts at this time of year. Family is the most cherished part of our lives this time of year. For many their family is diminishing faster than they care to think about. I'm part of that group, and I don't' stay in touch with many of my cousins so I don't know much about most of my extended family. That is why I try every chance I get to be with both sides of "The Pond', the Atlantic Ocean. Our Grandson, Steven, and his German family are a major part of Cindy and my lives. Our Stateside family, Shani (Opps, I had a Freudian slip. That is what we called my little girl when she was small), Johnny and my Angel, Hailey, are our focus everyday.We get together as often as we can.They are teachers and we run Lucinda's Country Inn, so that makes getting together not as easy as we'd like. A few hours here and there is good, bu not enough. This Christmas we will be together for an overnight visit and celebration, which makes my Christmas a great blessing.
I wish the best to everyone reading this a warm family and friends celebration. May you all be happy and cherish the few moments together, you will never have enough time together, so may each second be your best blessing.
Merry Christmas to one and all.
....'Til next time