Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Simpler Times - A Heritage

"Somewhere along the line of development we discover who we really are, and then we make our real decision for which we are responsible. Make that decision primarily for yourself because you can never really live anyone else's life not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life and what you become yourself."  Eleanor Roosevelt

This past weekend my brother and sisters and most of their families got together with my Mom for a workday weekend at the farm. Since then, I have been reflecting over the miracle of family, of heritage, and of love. "Simpler Times" is not so named because the days were easy. During these times there were many inconveniences, numerous injustices and often countless, seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Despite these circumstances, however, life seemed genuine, unassuming, less complicated, and people more loyal to one another.

A part of my quest in writing about these times is to recount memories connecting my present to my past. It is also my mission in sharing these priceless memories to somehow reach into your heart and remind you of your own heritage. Whether you've had the best ancestry, or one you may wish to forget...whether you have the fondest of memories, or the worst of nightmares...you have a heritage...an important story that is yours alone. More significantly, you have a choice in the direction your heritage takes from this point forward.

I was blessed to have had two wonderful sets of grandparents, and I still have access to their old homeplaces where I can return to enjoy the spirit of their presence. The value of the history these homesteads hold is priceless to me. You will hear many memories of both places in my writings.

Since my Dad went home to be with the Lord, however, my family has found a haven in the family farm that has been a part of our heritage for over a hundred years. Even though the old homeplace is gone, the memories remain. I cannot explain how incredible an experience it is to watch the sixth generation of direct Hood descendents walk on the same ground and play in the same dirt that was claimed well over a century ago.

This old homeplace is where my great-great grandfather brought his sons to begin a new life. Somewhere along the way one of the sons, Mr. Wiley, met Miss Jenny, fell in love and they had three sons - Arch, Frank and Lynn. Mr. Arch grew up, met Miss Winnie, and somewhere in his 40's became quite smitten with her (as is quite evident in this rare picture I found of them in their early courtship or newly married days.) Later down the line their only son who also happens to be my father, Frank Edward Hood, was born on that very land in a bedroom of the old homeplace.

Miss Winnie (my Maw Maw Hood) and Mr. Arch (my Paw Paw Hood)

After my grandfather and grandmother Hood passed away, this farm was my Dad's connection to his past. It was his haven and sanctuary from the pressures of the ministry. I truly believe this place, its memories, and its serenity kept him grounded and connected with his earthly father and deepened his relationship with his heavenly Father. Additionally, as Mom and Dad's family grew, it became a treasured meeting place where we gathered to sit around the campfire listening to Dad recount stories of his childhood, tell countless jokes, pray numerous prayers, and simply enjoy life in the moment.

My Mom (Gracie) and Dad (Frank Edward)...Dad telling one of his stories.
Each of us children has his or her own special memories here. It is the perfect spot to get away from the television, the phone, and the pressures of life. It is here the past, present and future meet. Here deadlines lose thier significance in the total scheme of things. Here, looking into the star-filled heavens I find a connection with my Heavenly Father and feel the closeness of my earthly father. Here I find my roots and a deep heritage worth sharing.

A Poem for Bear By Maw Maw Cindy My dear little Bear who sleeps soundly and tight So peaceful and trusting, your cares free...