While scanning, consolidating, labeling and ordering pictures on the computer, I was concentrating on recording history. I documented facts about my parents, grandparents and other ancestors. I had immersed myself in the past.
However, life requires us to step out of the time machine and live in the present. The joys and the sorrows of everyday life take time, energy and thought, so taking a break from my dive into family history to concentrate on the present was necessary. Through marriages, my own family has been adding to the family tree. And through the birth of new lives, Mr. Legs and I have become grandparents ourselves.
There are house projects, home maintenance, friendships to grow and family to love. Mr. Legs and I must also take care of ourselves. With multiple sclerosis, there is always some new symptom to recognize, problem solve and manage. With all these other things to do, some time has passed. There are questions that come up about my own childhood, questions about a DNA match or questions from a relative. As those things surface, I access my family tree software or explore my extensive picture files for answers. On more than one occasion, I have recognized the volume of what I have recorded and realize its value to me.
In a recent text exchange with a mutual old college friend about birthdays and our recent anniversary, my husband and I were surprised that our friend remembered being at our wedding and asked the following question:
“40 years, wow, that is great! Didn’t you have a carriage, or some horse drawn mode of transportation at your wedding?”
My answer started with “There’s a story behind that horse drawn mode of transportation”, and I told him a family story I hadn’t thought about for awhile. There were, of course, photos to go with the story. After our email exchange, I added to what I had sent to our friend and put it on a document. I then filed it in my grandpa’s file and in our wedding file on our computer.
And I decided to share it here….
My grandpa was an interesting man with diverse interests. When he was about 55 and I was elementary age, he owned a pony for a number of years. According to relatives, he acquired the pony in the trade of a machine. The pony, came with a cart and the pony and cart became a hobby others benefitted from. My sister and I and our cousins went to where the pony was stabled and were given rides in the cart.
We were invited to bring friends there for rides.
My grandpa even brought the pony to the front yard of our house and gave us rides there. When all the neighborhood kids saw what was happening and raced to our yard forming a line, he made sure all of them had a turn as well.
Grandpa and the pony eventually parted ways, but years later, when I was planning my wedding, my grandpa located that same pony out of state, arranged to borrow him, traveled to pick him up and bring him nearby, made a cover for the cart (bright for safety), and then on my wedding day he walked over a mile as he led that pony from the church to my family’s house.
He was 70 years old!! Now that I myself am older, I can imagine all of the logistics that went into such an endeavor and the energy it took; and I am able to appreciate even better what he did for me.
My grandpa and the pony and our family had a history together. The pony had been a source of fun for me as a child, provided by a loving grandfather. When we reunited after about 12 years, it makes sense, in a sense, maybe horse sense?, that it was a family reunion. We were all older and some hair (even the pony’s) had turned gray, but there was joy to be felt and love to be shared again. What a gift of childhood fun, wedding joy and lasting memories my grandpa gave me. Recounting the events was a jump back on the timeline that I enjoyed.
I’m amazed how photos repeat themselves. I noticed the similarity of two photos and put them together.