Those Who Have Gone Before…

On days like this, I try to reflect on my ancestors, those who have gone before, remembering them and their stories as those were told to me.  We were with friends yesterday and we all must’ve been in that mood since there was much recollecting to be enjoyed.

As is not at all uncommon, one person’s recollection spawned another and another and so on.  Certain common threads reinforced memory, and more detail found its way into the conversations.  Then we began to recognize that even though we had grown into adulthood without knowing each other, there were still elements that were common in our recollections of our own lives.

Certainly that isn’t reserved only for a few; the experiences were generational and not specifically tied to one family or another.  But what struck me particularly was that even though we each had grown to adulthood in different parts of the state and even different parts of the country, there was a similarity in recollections based upon a shared time period.  My experiences in Western Wisconsin were very similar to those of another in Southern Wisconsin.  Those were similar to others from Pennsylvania.  My hometown of Viroqua and another’s of Stoughton shared ‘honors’ as “tobacco capitols” of the state given the soil and weather conditions that produced tobacco fields of abundance.

I hope these conversations have been occurring all across our great land during this time of recollection.  I hope we all are able to see some commonality between our experiences and those of others even though location differed.  The more we have these conversations, the more we find we are very much akin even though not ‘blood relatives’. We are Americans who were born about the same time and who were raised in differing locations only to find that we had coalesced into very much ‘like’ individuals.

This may well be the “melting pot” we were told of as we grew up.  And yet today, there seem so many divergent forces, self-imposed, which would seem to defy the reality we experienced in yesterday’s conversation.  Maybe we need a ‘time out’ period every once in a while when we can catch-up with friends and neighbors and re-discover the concept of the “melting pot”.

That was an enjoyable happening yesterday.


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