Steve and Barb, my son and his wife, hosted an incredible Thanksgiving meal with all the favorites. (the
green bean casserole was made with fresh green beans, not the canned ones.) We told stories around the table. Barb’s dad, Carl, talked about his grandfather. “He was a spit-fire,” Carl said. “He lived to 102.”
This morning I remembered my mother’s mother: Bessie Craig Addie Field Sellnow. Though in this picture, she looks serene (even though if she turned her head around quickly enough, she might take off like a helicopter), my grandmother had a tough life. Widowed with two small children, she remarried a man whose wife died giving birth to twins. For most of her life she was a tenant farmer’s wife. She churned butter, drove horses, and buried two children. I’ve included Grandma Field in several of my stories and poems.
Yesterday, I mentioned that family stories that aren’t written down only last three or four generations. When my siblings and I put together a family album, we couldn’t identify the final and oldest picture we had. My brother, Phil, said, “Let’s call him Uncle Buck–because the buck stops here.” Uncle Buck was a rep from our fifth generation on our father’s side.
Not all family stories are funny. But they may hold important information about behaviors in our family systems. Some of those stories are only told when we are with people we trust. People who love us. People for whom I’m thankful. Like yesterday.