Heritage


I spent the last half of Easter Sunday and all of yesterday with my mom’s side of the family in Boone, NC. It’s a mountain city with some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see. It’s in my blood to love the place, and going there is always a pleasure (especially now that they’re not in the Dark Ages anymore and I actually have phone service in some places…lol).

Photobucket

Photobucket

Yesterday was a day that really made me re-evaluate myself. We visited my Granddaddy’s grave so my aunt could put flowers there, and being up on that mountain again was sobering for me. Granddaddy had not lived as long as we hoped, but he had a full, rich life. He had accomplishments and honors that honestly make me feel pretty small. He had a doctorate and had been a sargeant in World War II (I think he fought in the Korean War as well). In spite of all that, though, the most important thing in his life by far was family. He was faithful to and in love with his wife to the very end and had children and grandchildren that adored him.

After visiting his grave, we went to visit, for the very last time, my great-grandmother’s house where we always used to gather at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes other holidays. I can go to that place and instantly relive my childhood. Without going to Grandmama’s house, my Christmas will now be incomplete. The farm has been sold and yesterday was our last chance to see it, for good.

It was bittersweet, but I so enjoyed hearing all the stories that my aunts and my mom told me about their childhoods on the farm. It was interesting to see the inside of the barn (which I had always been afraid to go into) and the river, which I had never had a chance to swim in and now, never will. But once again, the thing that stood out to me was the heritage my great-grandfather and great-grandmother left behind. They left behind values that many of my family members have embraced: love, hard work, and living off the land. Not only that, but… they left behind A LOT of children and grandchildren. I mean A LOT.

All of these things really gave me pause. What am I living for? Am I just floating along without really establishing roots anywhere? Am I developing lasting relationships with my family and friends? Is anything I’m working on really going to matter to my children and grandchildren? Am I going to have a family in the future, or am I going to miss my chance because I was focusing on the things that don’t matter?

Leaving a heritage for your descendants is something a lot of people don’t think about. 2012 is all about the here and now. We love our gadgets, our conveniences, and our money, and those are the things we strive for. What about raising a family that has morals and knows how to treat people right? What about leaving behind an example about how to really make your life worthwhile? Isn’t that worth more that an Apple Mac?

I’m thankful to be home, but I’m missing my family and my mountains, and I’ve come home with a new perspective and a new determination to focus on the things that really matter.

~N.L.

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