Please Stop.


Last week, a man fulfilled horrific plans he had made over more than a few months. He stockpiled weapons, ammunition, and bomb making materials, holed up in a hotel room, and opened fire on a crowd below him who were doing nothing more than enjoying a concert. He killed 59 people, injured hundreds of others, and like the coward he was, he killed himself rather than face his crimes against humanity. Most mass killers are like that, cowards at heart who die rather than face their charges.

Seeing all of the sadness, the horror, the pain, the deep unending need to know why will overwhelm everyone who is touched by this madman and his desire to kill. How do I know this is what they are feeling? Let me tell you.

On a cold winter’s day in January 1996, my son was murdered along with his friend Ralph. It was and is a very painful event in our lives. After 20 years it is as much a part of who we are as our names. One learns to live with and through the pain, but it is ever present. A man shot my son and Ralph. I don’t blame the gun, it is just a tool, I blame the man who pulled the trigger.

For all of you who are on your high horse about how bad guns are, just stop. Stop making this about YOU and your political agenda. Stop talking, just stop. Take a minute out of your IMPERSONAL outrage, and allow those who are directly involved to talk. Listen to them. Just stop and listen! They will want to tell you about how wonderful their loved one was. How they lived, what they thought, how much they are loved. They don’t give a flying damn about your politics right now. It isn’t about YOU, or gun control, or where you were, or how oppressed you feel, or any of that.

This is about human beings who were living and laughing and having a great time up until a bullet took their lives.

So just shut up, stop talking, stop arguing, stop all of this crap that has nothing to do with the LOSS OF A LIFE of someone’s son, wife, husband, mom, dad, daughter, child, friend. Stop making about you. By all that is holy and loved in your life, have some compassion, gentleness, and love. At least let them bury their dead, mourn them, and get used to the new emptiness in their lives.

Tomorrow, you will get out of bed and go on with your daily routine. Your lives aren’t changed forever, your normal is still the same. You can go on your merry way, doing your own thing, whatever it may be. But some of those families will be burying their loved one. Some will wait minute by minute to see if they need to make funeral arraignments, or plans for a long recovery for a wounded family member, some of them will weep in sorrow and deepest despair. And the weeping will go on for the rest of their lives.

In unexpected moments, a memory will come to them that will bring them to their knees in pain. Or someone will laugh, and they are sure it was the one the lost, or they will see someone in a crowd that looks like him or her, and the pain will wash over them in waves of agony. And it will go on.

While you, in your self contained world, will natter on about political this, and demanding that because a mad man killed a bunch of people in Las Vegas, Nevada in October of 2017. Meanwhile, the urgency of the event will fade for you, become part of the history of your life, and lose its meaningfulness in furthering your agenda. Other people will die in other events, and for a few days that will grab your attention, but it will fade. And life goes on.

For those who lost someone in that horrific blood bath, it will never fade. Never. They will remember each and every second of the moment they knew they had lost someone. It will take conscious effort to remember to breathe, move, even speak at times. It will never end.

With time, they will learn to live through and with the pain and loss, if they are fortunate to have others to uphold and help them. Some will give in and stop living, some will end it all. Some will find a reason to live and some will simply survive until they can take a breath or a step without feeling like they are going to break into a million pieces like shattered glass.

I know this, because I have been in their shoes and walked that mile. If you haven’t, then shut up, sit down and listen to those who have been there. You are not qualified to know how we feel, what we think, and where our hearts and minds dwell.

Just stop, stop, stop….please.

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It Was A Nice Visit


I went to visit my son in Oklahoma last week. It was his birthday. I was glad to have a bit of time alone with him, and had a nice chat catching him up on everything going on with his family, his daughter and granddaughter, and us. I shared a few photos, and gossiped a bit about things, and of course, complained about the politics of the country and the craziness that the left is doing its best to force on the rest of us hard working folks.

It was a nice visit, sitting in the warm sun as the Oklahoma breeze fluttered by. The grasses in the fields nearby danced along to the song of the birds and bugs flying about. I spent a few minutes arranging the flowers I brought in lieu of a gift as I chatted on about how nice the area was looking, and that the quiet was so peaceful around him. Everyone seemed to be keeping their places nice with flowers and trees.

I reminded him to say hello to everyone as I packed up my things to go. Told him I love him too. It’s a nice place at White Dove Cemetery, up on the hill. I’m glad to know he is there and that he would like that particular place to spend his rest.

It was as good as it can be when a mother visits the grave of her son. Yeah, it was good, for what it can be.

They All Served With Honor


Anyone who knows me is aware that genealogy and family history are my passion. I am more familiar with my long deceased relatives than the majority of my living relatives. After researching and studying their lives, they become very real to me, and it makes me aware of the way I was raised and how I think originated.

With all of the drama going on over Civil War monuments lately, I thought I would take a look back at the men who served in the Civil War, and the women who kept the family alive while they were gone. There are dozens of men in my various family lines that served, on both sides.

One family, on my father side of the family, had twelve children when the war broke out. Four of their sons were grown men, three with wives and young children, the other one was still single. In-between the boys, they had four daughters who were at, or reaching, marrying age.

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for the mother of those boys to watch them march off to war. Grown men or not, they were her boys. I can only imagine how painful it was for those four girls to watch their brothers and, probably sweethearts, march away. Without technology like we have today, without the ability to send letters, as many folks back then were uneducated and could barely write their names, the inability to know how their sons were doing must have been maddening.

Of those four boys, none returned home. One died at Gettysburg, two died at Shiloh, and one died in a prison camp from dysentery and starvation. They left three widows and six children between them. The sisters? Each of them died of old age, single and without children.

After the Civil War, so many men of marriageable age were dead or dying, that there simply were not enough men to marry. Not unless they married someone who was a widower with a bunch of children already, or someone younger than they were. With all the single women and widows after the war, men could be rather picky. A few came home to their sweethearts, married, had families, and life went on as they planned. But not for these four sisters. They spend their lives being the spinster aunts in the family, taking care of their parents and their nieces and nephews.

By today’s standards, it isn’t a problem for a woman to be single all her life. But, back then, when there were no jobs or careers for women outside of teaching and nursing, most women were a burden on their families, and became the built in nanny and cook for more than one family member.

The brothers were all Union soldiers. They didn’t die majestic, heroic deaths. They were simple foot soldiers who were doing their duty for their country. They didn’t have opinions on slavery one way or the other, their grandfather was a slave owner who emancipated his slaves, all three of them, when he died. They were just men, farmers, no better, no worse than any other soldier.

In Shiloh National Park, there is a statue to the men who died in that horrific battle. It recognizes the men who died there. It is a beautiful piece of art. Right near it is one for the men who died in the same battle, only they died for their country, the Southern Confederate Army is recognized with another beautiful piece of art, a statue of brothers in arms. Should one be torn down, should both?

By deleting the statues that recognize the men who served and died for the Confederate Army, we are negating the men who fought and died for the Union. It takes two sides to have a battle, without one side, it makes no sense to honor the other side. Those statues represent the men in my family who died there. One, the two Union brothers, the other, their cousins.

The Uncle of the boys who marched off to war was a Southern sympathizer. He had no slaves, but he, like his sister, had a large family. Off to war his sons went, one after the other. Of the three sons he sent to war, they left behind three widows and seven children. One of them born shortly after his father was killed at Shiloh. The eldest son died at Bull Run, the third, when Sherman marched through Georgia. He was on his way home, wounded and unable to fight with one arm. The Union Army took him prisoner, he died of blood poisoning.

Within that same family, were five daughters. Two of the five girls never married, and died of old age as spinsters, according to census records. The three women who married lived long lives too. One, however, with a permanently “crippled” husband, according to census records, and the two other women married much older men with children whose wives had died during or shortly after the Civil War.

Two families, out of a dozen or more, in my family lines whose sons fought and died, leaving an entire generation bereft and mourning for their lost dreams, lives, and loves. This is what the Civil War did to regular families who were called to do their duty. Farmers, merchants, millers, builders, just people.

Unlike the romantic version of the Civil War in movies like Gone With The Wind and such, it was a messy, horrific, loud, frightening, bloody, uncivil nightmare. Most of the men who died were not much beyond boyhood. But they stood, fought, and died. They deserve to be honored, no matter which side they fought on, because this was the American Civil War. And the true enemy was the politicians and the very few slave owners who were too greedy to see a better way.

As much as you may not like it, the Civil War was not fought just to free the slaves, it was fought over money, power, and unending politics that tore the nation apart. The issue of slavery was just the cheery on top of the mess.

I know many black people who have ancestors who were slaves. None of them feel angry or slighted with me that several of my many times great grandfathers owned slaves. I had nothing to do with that. Most of them are more interested in learning where their people came from in Africa, than who owned them as slaves. It is time to learn to deal with the past as the past instead of using it as an excuse to throw tantrums and act out like toddlers who are told they can’t have what they want.

My family lost men in every war, conflict, or action since they first set foot on the shores of America. More of my relatives fought tribal wars and took slaves from the losers of the conflicts between tribes. Today, I have two nephews in the military. My father, son, brother, brother in law, and many uncles, cousins, grandfathers, and even a few wives have fought for this country. It is an honor to come from a family of patriots. I want all of them honored, recognized, and accepted for the sacrifices they made for their side of the conflict – sacrifices made based on their knowledge and conscience, and patriotism.

God Bless them all.

Destroy From Within


It seems that the deepest wish of the left leaning politicos is to tear down and destroy all evidence of the Confederate States that removed themselves from the Union over a hundred years ago. All statues that honor or recall the war of Northern Aggression, as the people of the south called it, are to be erased. They are to be torn down and destroyed in a fit of anger by those who have never been slaves, and who are doing their best to undo fifty plus years of steps to total race equality in the United States.

Why stop at pulling down statues. Let’s go whole hog and tear down all things that represent the south, and their former use of slaves. Let us start with the history of slavery, and the fact that the first person to own a slave in the Americas was none other than a black man, and let us not forget the indentured servants who came to the Americas to be enslaved for the duration of their indenture, and in many cases, until their deaths. We must erase all of that. Justice demands it. At least it does according to the leftists.

While we are at it, lets destroy all monuments on the battle fields, both north and south, so that no one has to know our horrid past and we can white wash (no pun intended) the whole issue of slavery and the Civil War. In fact, lets just do away with all the historic battlefields and turn them into condos and golf courses, because they aren’t important. We can build section eight housing for all. Covering the graves of the fallen. No one cares anyway. Why not?

We might as well go right on ahead and tear down all memorials and monuments to every Revolutionary War hero too. Destroy the Liberty Bell, burn the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and don’t forget to shred the Federalist Papers too. Deny the Founding Fathers, remove every mention of them from our history. How dare they have the gumption to form a country based on freedom. Be sure and tear down every museum, and burn all the history books. We can’t have anyone believe the truth of our foundation, we don’t have the right to have a history that isn’t in line with the leftist propaganda machine.

Of course, that means there is no reason for the Civil Rights heroes either. Rosa Parks, nah, totally unimportant because slaves freed themselves and there were no victims of inequality. Martin Luther King Jr., just another loud mouth preacher, no one cares what he had to say. He isn’t important in the history of the country. He can’t be if the past is denied and revisionist history is the shining star. Douglas Frederick and Harriet Tubman, totally unimportant in saving lives, after all, if we deny the Civil War, deny the Southern involvement, destroy all monuments and buildings dedicated to those who served in the Confederate, none of the heroes are important or relevant.

While we are at it, we must also deny all the changes for gender equality, because without the fight for Civil Rights, the entire issue of gender equality would never have got off the ground. It would be a non sequitur in the history of time. Women would still be second class citizens and the rainbow alphabet people would still be in the closet. But, the leftists simply do not accept that. No monuments to the likes of Harvey Milk and others allowed. Revisionist history will wipe away all of that.

Let’s not stop there, go on and completely revise history while we are at it. Tear down all memorials to any war. Every statue, every monument must go. WWI. WWII, Korea, Viet Nam memorials all must go. The monument to Iwo Jima must be an insult to every American of Japanese ancestry. The monuments for each world war must be an insult to every American of German, Russian, or Italian ancestry too. And, we also need to remove every battleship or floating museum, after all, someone just might get upset if they see one.

Why not simply deny we are a sovereign nation and forget our honor, our integrity, our men and women who fought for that freedom and independence? They are an embarrassment to the leftists, and anyone who believes in what they fought and died for is a racist white supremacist who needs to be lynched for daring to breathe. Let’s just go all the way and destroy our country, turning it into a third world country where only a few are living well.

Oh yes, and we must deny God. We cannot have a belief in the Judea-Christian faith. It must be deleted from existence and denied as a rumor from the past. We must, instead, fear Islam and bow down to it, while we live degenerate, rudderless, selfish lifestyles that cater only to those who disbelieve in all that America was founded on, and until the past twenty years, stood as a beacon to freedom to the world. The leftist would have us be nothing more than mediocre. How dare we strive for excellence. We must be less than others to be accepted.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr. A brilliant deduction of the leftist beliefs. It horrifies me to see the complete lack of understanding of the importance of history and the events that shaped and formed our county. It is because we have experienced the past that we can move forward into the future with confidence and the ability to overcome the negative issues that crippled our country. Anyone who denies the past history is destined to repeat it, over and over and over again.

Yes, slavery was a part of our past as a country. It was awful, and in today’s modern society we condemn it. However, in today’s world slavery is still alive and well in many countries. I don’t see the leftists screaming and rioting about that. I guess it doesn’t really matter since it isn’t in their neighborhood, city, state, or country. There are no rabble rouser paying them to riot on behalf of the mutilated girls and women in Islamic countries, after all.

The greatest President of my generation, Ronald Reagan, said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” I fear, ladies and gents, that our children are failing and freedom will die with their generation. Our beacon will dim and be snuffed out by self serving, greedy, spoiled people who will never really grow up. Soon, America will become a back world country over run by those who do not want to overcome their past, but who will revel in their disappointments and anger relegating America to nothing more than a day care for the government to babysit. Our moral compass will be constantly stuck on half -assed.

If the leftists like Black Lives Matter and others of their ilk take over and cow the true Americans in our country, we will end. George Washington said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Oh, but wait, he will not be important, nor will his words or thoughts, because we will have erased all knowledge of our first President via revisionist history. However, the words still ring true for those who want to listen. When we stop standing up against those who would destroy freedom, when we stand quiet and acquiescent, we will be led to the slaughter of the greatest country the world of mankind has ever seen.

So by all means, let us get to it, leftists. But know, that there are still Patriots who will stand against you, and we will not be silenced. Not because we are racists, not because we are filled with hate, not because we are paid to by powers that be, but because we understand and believe that we are One Nation, Under God, and that as such we represent the finest of all attributes. To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.“

2730 Words


2730 words. That is all he wrote. 2730 words define his poetry and deepest thoughts. So few, yet they say so much. How can it be?

There are fewer words in an obituary, even fewer on a tombstone, summing up most of our lives. We don’t know how the person buried under the soil felt, or what they thought, or what engaged them. And when those that knew them are gone too, all is lost.

It is beyond sad so few of us leave behind any written legacy for our loved ones. A quote, a thought, a story, a remembrance, to hand down from generation to generation sharing and telling the future what the past was all about.

Each of us has a story, lived a life seen only from our perspective. We know things no one else knows, and we share only what is acceptable, easy, and gentle. The hard truth, the pain, the rage, all of those are buried as deep as a coffin, shame.

2730 words are the legacy of my son. Something to share, no matter how painful, with all those who loved him, and all those who will never meet him in this life. It was an honor to put his words together for those who will come after.

Enough Already


Okay snowflakes and crybullies, enough is enough. It is one thing to protest, you have that right, it is totally different to riot because that crosses the line to illegal activities.

Those windows you broke, the businesses you looted, the cars you destroyed, those belong to someone who works hard for a living. Many of them may have voted for your candidate. In fact, most of them probably did seeing as the areas being looted are in the most liberal cities in the country. How does that help your ’cause’?

All Americans who have been on the opposite side of the results of an election have been disappointed and upset by being on the losing side. But I have yet to see Conservatives tearing up the town to protest their loss. It seems that the majority of them are either too busy working or too busy taking care of family and helping in the community to go out and break things. If they do protest it is by voting or writing a letter to their congressional representatives. It is a futile thing to keep expecting a different outcome from behaving the same way over and over.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr must be turning in his grave to see how people “protest” these days. Dragging a man out of his car and beating him just because he is white and may have voted for Trump, beating a girl at high school because someone in her family voted for Trump (she wasn’t even old enough to vote), beating a 70 some odd man because he shouted All Lives matter and the black woman next to him didn’t like it, all of those are acts of violence. Dr. King was as anti violence as anyone could get. He helped change the world for Black and White people, and this is how you treat his legacy? Really?

To be clear, according to my DNA, I am a multi-race person. I have light skin, light eyes, and silver hair, but I am not just white. Likewise, if you are an American for more than one or two generations, you are probably as mixed race as I am. So that will make you just like me and me just like you. Get over the race thing, it is immature and self defeating. No one respects a bully, and that is what calling everyone racists is doing, bullying.

Get over yourselves all you millennial snowflakes who melt and swoon at the drop of the use a perfectly decent word. When you grow up and leave your protected safe place at university, you will have to go out into the big bad world and work. Guess what, your boss isn’t going to give a rap about how someone micro insulted you. Put on your big boy or girl britches and grow the hell up. The whole micro aggression thing used to be solved easily on the playground around the age of six. “Sticks and stones may break my bones… or it bounces off of me and sticks to you…” Holy cats people, have you really been so wrapped in cotton wool and protected by your helicopter parents that you can’t cope with someone saying something without taking it as an insult or becoming a sobbing mess?

I have noticed, however, that the most easily offended snowflake or crybully is often the first to start screaming invectives and socially unacceptable verbiage as soon as they have two or more bullies at their back. Having a conversation is not allowed due to their allergy to their self perceived micro aggression. Instead, they start throwing things and becoming unmanufactured in the most vicious way possible. Then they whine about racists, sexists, homophobic, people who don’t understand them. Well gee whiz, Wally, get a grip, no one is required to agree with or understand your snit fit.

I am old, to most of you snowflakes, ancient. I don’t agree one whit with the whole concept of safe places, binky, and blanket nonsense that you demand like a bunch of spoiled two year old brats. If you are considered an adult, act like one. Otherwise, go to your safe place and suck your thumb until you can act like one. Enough enough, it is time to get over yourselves.

It Isn’t Personal


I know that all my liberal friends are in deep mourning – and in one of several stages of grief – shock, denial, anger – at the moment. I am sorry you are taking this so personally, because it isn’t a personal attack on you, it simply is what it is.

I don’t get all the emotional reaction to any of this. It isn’t as if it is some sort of personal insult to all the people who voted for Clinton and lost out. Opposite sides voted, one had to win, ergo, one had to lose. I don’t understand the investment of deep emotions over something which we, individually, have no control.

This isn’t about emotion, it is about politics. Period. Had Trump lost I would have been disappointed, but my life would go on and I would keep fighting to keep America free. I wouldn’t start destroying other people’s property or break down into a sobbing mess.

Just because the candidate I voted for won, doesn’t mean he is going to get a free pass, he will be watched very carefully by his supporters, and, I hope, by all Americans.

So, do your grieving, take a deep breath, grab a drink of something soothing, have a good cry, and when you are ready, join the rest of us in making a difference in the world around us.

Insanity in Florida June 12, 2016


So, once again a prediction I made several years ago has happened. It was only a matter of time before gay hating Muslim terrorists decided to make an example of them to the rest of the world. Apparently, a proud moment for the backward third world creeps who hate everyone from women to gays to anyone who doesn’t bow down to their insanity. I can’t even drum up enough mad to be outraged, it was just a matter of time.
 
The people in this country KNOW we are hated, we KNOW that we are targets, we KNOW that killing us means that they get to heaven. They LIVE the assassin creed founded over two thousand years ago in the middle east and do NOT expect to live, to do so would be failure.
 
Yet, the club filled with rainbow people is NOT guarded by someone with a weapon, and no one inside was allowed to carry a weapon (I mean a gun people, not drugs, booze, or mind bending substances), so this indoctrinated, hate filled, evil person walked right in and started killing. He was out numbered, but no one even THOUGHT to try to gang up on him and stop him. They just saw a gun and some crazy guy shouting in Arabic, and ran screaming.
 
All it would have taken is one guy with a gun, a group willing to attack him from behind, someone smacking him over the head with a bottle of whiskey… a chair… or knifing him with a pocket knife.
 
ONE person could have stopped this madness, but now, instead, all those families and loved ones of the deceased will mourn, and all those who are injured will have months, years, even life to deal with the results of this act.
 
ONE person did this, ONE person could have stopped him. Just ONE.

“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”


“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people my age tend to simply stop. They stop doing fun things, they stop being involved, they stop thinking and growing intellectually. They just stop. Then they sit about and complain about how boring life is, how hard it is to do things they used to do, how much they wish they had done such and such before they got too old. They are failing to thrive in the late years of their lives. And there is no excuse for that- period.

I know, things are a bit harder to do when knees hurt,backs don’t want to bend, and the body gets tired much easier than it did at the age of forty. We all have to slow down,but that doesn’t mean we have to stop. It may take longer, but there is no reason not to at least try.

Years ago there was a movie entitled Cocoon followed by another, Cocoon Returns. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest watching them at least once. It starred a lot of “stars” who were getting quite elderly. All stuck in a nursing home, waiting to die, fussing at one another, etc. Until things change due to a visit from the aliens. Look, I know it is really a sappy story, but what I loved about it was the willingness of almost all of the elderly folks to embrace that which was different. If their youth didn’t return, their joy for life certainly did. And, at the end of the day, their inaction became action, and their lives infinitely better.

Another movie I loved was Driving Miss Daisy, a stellar performance by one and all. Again, another character that defies the tendency to just sit down and stop. Fried Green Tomatoes is a fantastic film. Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy were great together and the flashback between Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson is equally dynamic. At the end of the day, we are still not sure which woman Jessica Tandy was as the elderly friend of Kathy Bates. Ambiguity saturates the film, while turning Katy Bates’ character from a meek doormat into a woman filled with confidence. And, of course, the character played by Shirley Mclaine in Steel Magnolias is just like I want to be when I get old.

I see many older folks off and doing things all over the world. They travel, explore, serve missions of compassion – regardless of sore knees and aching backs. They move, act, and they live every minute of every day. That is what I want to do too.

When our youngest son went off to college, my husband and I decided to work our way around the world. Eight years later, we finally returned to the US. As we were raising our granddaughter, she went right along with us. We lived in London, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, and only came back to the US due to health issues and the awful Socialized Medical care in NZ. We traveled all over each region and were enriched many times over by our experiences.

But I was in my forty’s when we did that. Now I am sixty, and it is going to become more difficult to do some of the things we did. So, we chose other things to do so we could travel. A cruise or four, a road trip across the US, and our big adventure this year is to travel across country by train. I don’t hike for miles any longer, but I sure can sit and enjoy the view from the train.

So there is no excuse not to thrive, people. Just get up, take a few steps, find a hobby that fulfills you, volunteer as a surrogate grandmother to rock babies at the hospital. Volunteer at the schools or libraries to help kids with their reading skills. Go help out a nursing home if you have a talent like playing the piano. There are a multitude of things you can do to overcome the lack of inertia and sedentary inaction. For me, being with my grandchildren is one of my greatest motivators. I write, I hang out on social media sites, I keep up with friends and work on my family history, and I am planning on taking art lessons. I have always wanted to learn how to paint. That will be so much fun!

So, you are old, so what? Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. Just because your body is starting to creak and moan, it doesn’t mean your brain isn’t functioning. (Unless you have a serious condition, of course.) With all the medical miracles out today, most of us will live well into our eighties or nineties.

I have a friend who is ninety-eight. For the several decades, she has traveled the world following the performances of the operas of Wagner. All on her own, she would jump on a plane and off she would go to Italy, France, Germany, or any place in the world that the operas were being performed. What an amazing lady

who just kept on going like an Eveready Battery. She is running down now, but she is still in control of her life and decided to go home until the end of her days. It is heartbreaking, but at the same time, what a life she has had! Even now, she keeps busy with doing her family history and chatting with her friends and family.

Even if you are homebound, unable to walk, unable to drive, so what? There are a million things you can do to keep your brain healthy and busy. Never just stop and wait to die. We all have a finite amount of time here in this life. I could spend it worrying about death, or I can just get on with living while I am still here.

The more we let inaction rule our lives, the less likely we are to live a long life. Not just because our bodies need to move to function well, but because our brains atrophy at an alarming rate. Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. But it is only you that can take that first step. I can’t wait to become a feisty old woman who says exactly what she wants to say about everything.

Come on people, get up, find a cause, reason, purpose, or passion to fill your life. Go on!

 

Somewhere Out There


Out there, somewhere, in all the documents, papers, and stories of humanity, is information concerning one Thomas Napoleon Vandenburg, born in 1814 in either Germany or Holland, and died – according to lore – in 1864 in an insane asylum in Tennessee. We know he married a woman named Elizabeth, had three sons, all of which are easily documented, and the descendants of those three sons are scattered world wide. That’s it, that is all we have about this man who is my direct descendant.

Oh, I know, he is long dead, and that the stories about him died with his children or grandchildren. No one who knew him still walks the earth. But it bothers me that a man who was a father, husband, and no doubt, friend is simply erased as if he was unimportant in the formation of our family line. To me, he isn’t just a name and date on a piece of paper, he is part of who I am from the smallest part of DNA to, perhaps, how I look and act. It is a connection that becomes more important the longer I can’t find an answer.

As most genealogy enthusiasts know, there is always the one brick wall that makes us keep on pounding away. So many things can cause a brick wall. A name change, a spelling change, someone just decides to drop out of sight and moves on with a new life. All of that was much easier the further back one goes in history in the United States and other wilderness areas that became dumping grounds for criminals and religious fanatics. That very combination of rebelliousness was ripe for anarchy. Wars added to the losses, and sometimes, the soldier joined up using a fake name and disappeared into the chaos of history ending in a nameless grave somewhere on a nameless piece of land.

Disease, insanity, grueling hard scrabble lives, starvation, and wanderlust added their share of ghosts and lost men and women who became vague names in some old Bible or land document. There are thousands of ways a man could die in the past that would be cured with a simple pill today. The greed for gold alone took thousands of men from their families into the gold fields of California. A multitude of them were never heard from again. Some simply slipped away, some died horrific deaths, some drank themselves to death, and some managed to make it home, or bring their families to them to start a new life.

Today, it is rare that someone can simply disappear. We have documentation from the second we are born until the day we are buried or cremated at the end of our lives. Millions of tons of paper and ink are outlaid on each person born in a modern society. And now, with social media, computer hackers, and everything available electronically, we are even less likely to be able to disappear. Eventually, someone, somewhere, will recognize the missing person or discover when and where he or she died. I abhor the modern world of constant surveillance and intrusion, yet still wish that our ancestors had been a bit more organized and determined to keep records straight.

However, as I beat against that brick wall that is Thomas Napoleon Vandenburg’s history, I know in my heart that he is happy that someone cares enough to search for him from so far in the future. One day I will find him, and when I do I will do my Happy Dance and know that all the late nights, road trips, digging around in ragged paperwork and frustration was worth it. His story will be written again, and we will be able to move on to the men and women who brought him into this world. I know he’s out there, somewhere. Hang on Thomas, I am searching as hard as I can.