Family time growing up with my dad always included interesting conversation. We memorized classical poetry while hiking in the Trinity Alps of northern California and listened by the warmth of winter fires to The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Dad stimulated our interest in politics, philosophy, religion, social issues, and current events. He asked us to share our ideas and opinions. He introduced us to interesting places on the globe and described exotic animals. We often entertained creative people. His own hunger for knowledge defined the culture of our home.
My brother Wallace has become the great philosopher of our family, a theologian and teacher who expounds from insatiable reading. He is an impassioned purveyor of knowledge. Aaron learned early the need for practicality and hard physical labor, yet he writes wilderness adventure tales from a sensitivity and respect for nature birthed in those early woodland jaunts and years as an avid outdoorsman. Both brothers, embracing opposing political and social views, enjoy a good and vigorous debate.
We three sisters have lived very different adult lives. Janice and I each have a passion to write, both have degrees that validate our skill and training, both speak from lives rich and full. She has lived as a world-travelling cosmopolitan while I have lived as a traditional country homemaker. Our youngest sister, Linnea, races at mach speed through life, a mover and shaker in the fitness world, training pageant contestants and conducting on-line workouts. She knows how to influence others with her encouraging words. All three of us enjoy lively debate, share enthusiastically from our own points of view, and love the challenge of keeping up with “the boys” in any conversation of substance.
“Invictus”, “Lord Randall”, “The Raggedy Man” and “The Highwayman” may be heard recited even by our progeny now at family gatherings, remnants of our childhood entertainment with our Dad. We all look forward to biennial family reunions with extended family. Pinochle games often end in enthusiastic (even sometimes flush-faced) conversation about current events or social responsibility.
My husband is a wise man born of a family with roots in common sense, careful planning and practicalities. I am born of a family rich in words, lofty dreams and spontaneity. I gained knowledge, he gained wisdom. As we’ve blended our lives these past 43 years, John speaks and writes more emotionally and I listen and speak more carefully. We both love words. He whistles and sings harmonies from his Baptist upbringing, I recite epic poetry. What a wonderful heritage has been passed from our forebears that we now pass on to our offspring.