For many years, my Uncle Bill asked everyone he knew to write to him. With our busy lives, few of us kept at it for very long. He always wanted the letters to be hand written, not typed if at all possible, and whenever he wrote back, it was always hand written. That always seemed like such major undertaking to most people, and sadly I was just as guilty as most other people in Uncle Bill’s life. I tried to write him regularly, but I just never really met that goal. As time went on, my letters got further and further apart. In recent years, Uncle Bill’s dementia has changed things, so now he doesn’t know that we haven’t written in a while, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that we didn’t do the one thing he asked us to do.
The problem was that, none of us really understood the reason. Now that I have begun looking through the many family history documents Uncle Bill has, I am beginning to understand the value of those had written letters. Of course, Uncle Bill’s family history has a variety of letters from different people in it, but the thing that has made the biggest impression on me…Uncle Bill’s handwriting. I never would have guessed that it would be his handwriting that would stay with me so long.
I always thought that handwriting was handwriting. I never felt like it held anything so special…until now. I had asked my cousin Tracey to send me some photos from her side of our family, and she happily obliged. To my astonishment, the pictures were some that were sent to her family by none other than, my Uncle Bill. I knew it because I recognized that handwriting. I think I will always recognize that handwriting. I find that amazing, somehow. It’s like the story has gone full circle now. Uncle Bill understood how valuable handwriting is…and now so do I. I only wish I had seen it sooner, when it could have meant something to Uncle Bill to see my handwriting a little more often.
When we are young, life’s possibilities seem to be endless…it’s places are ours to explore, and ours to decide what is for us and what is not. Of course, as we get older, we realize that we don’t always have the say in where life takes us, but we can decide how we will handle what life sends our way. My dad was always one of those people who took what life handed him and made the best of it with a smile on his face and kindness in his heart. Oh, I know there are many oher people out there who, like my dad were inspiring to their friends and families, but I can only speak to what I know. Dad was always such a positive influence on all of us. He inspired us to do what was right.
I have more of a tendency to be a little hot headed…difficult to believe, I know…or not, but my dad had the ability to settle me down pretty well. Yes, we debated…often called arguing by the average person…but whether I admitted it or not, I did hear the things he tried to teach me, and I think that it was probably those teachings, and the ones from my mom, that made me into the person I am today.
My parents came from humble beginnings, where money wasn’t the main focus in life. They were taught that hard work and a good attitude would always keep them on the right track. The Great Depression was a tough time for America, and they lived through those times, and their aftermath, and yet it never hindered them from doing the things they wanted to do. They saw where life was taking them, and they made that a better place. That is the kind of person I would like to be. Lifes roads are not always the easiest ones to travel, but I want to be able to make the places I pass through on that journey better than they were before I arrived.
We all have to start somewhere and finish somewhere, and it isn’t about that beginning or even about the ending, but more about the in between that matters, except of course, where we will spend eternity, which I pray for all of you, will be in Heaven, where I’ll be going. Where we start is out of our control…where we finish is ours to decide, and what we do in the places that our journey takes us, is up to us. We should think about the kind of impression we will leave people with, because the things we say can have a lasting effect on the people who hear them. My dad made that in between and finish the very best, and taught his family to do the same. Missing you today, Dad. Love you!!