Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gratitude . . . and it isn't even Thanksgiving!

For the past few days, I’ve been pursuing some family lines, most of which are of dubious connection to my own main focus of research.

But I have become more and more impressed with the tremendous amount of information that has been posted to the Internet in various ways. What a delight to put a name in a search engine and have something relevant pop up in response! It wouldn’t have happened without the efforts of multitudes of very nice, giving people and organizations.

One interesting experience just has to be shared. When I first got online late in the summer of 1997, I thought, “Hey, I’ll just serialize some of my notes collection and post it to the SCOTT List.”

I felt a little embarrassed later when I realized that such a practice was somewhat “out of the ordinary” (to put the best possible light on it). I should have gotten the clue when several people wrote to the List asking just what all of this material was.

Earlier this week, I got to the point where I needed to look for the maiden name of Henry Monroe SCOTT’s wife, Emma J. So I typed the essentials into the Google search field and sent out my request.

Looking through the resulting list, I was very excited to see a direct hit. Then I started laughing when I realized that what I had found almost 13 years after the fact was an entry from that original group of postings. Kind of an “I’m my own grandpa” type of feeling! I’d had Henry Monroe and Emma J. in my old, retired notes all along. Just hadn’t thought to look there.

Perhaps the general message might be that no effort at recording data online is really wasted. Somewhere, somehow it will be of some use to someone!

Many thanks to all the contributors!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ambivalence illustrated

Shoveling snow off the driveway (which meant that we actually got our car out late yesterday) and piling it right under my clotheslines (which means that I probably won’t be able to hang laundry outside until mid-May).


P.S. More snow due in tomorrow.

Double sigh!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow days!

The world is white, almost all white. There are enough colored accents to mark where houses and trees and vehicles still exist. However, they are only punctuation to the long snowfall sentences we’ve been hearing the past couple of days.

To update you on my last entry, the baby (a healthy and beautiful little girl) was delivered safely and was enthusiastically welcomed before the roads became impassible.

A revised offer was accepted by the current homeowner of the home which our son is now closer to purchasing.

Two children are still residing comfortably away from home during the storm.

And one is here with us, having survived a harrowing trip down the notorious hill on her way home after visiting her sister, brother-in-law, and newborn niece in the hospital. Her heroic papa came to her rescue (which he gladly attributes to many years of driving experience and a lot of outside assistance).

But here we are, firmly and emphatically enclosed in our home for probably another couple of days. We are still fortunate to have power, a benefit many are currently lacking. And we have hours upon hours of empty time.

The power did go out last night for a while. We scurried around and got the oil lamps lit. And then we sat in the semi-light and wondered what to do. No television. No books. Barely enough visibility to continue my knitting. And scarcely any topics of discussion, especially after we determined all the ways in which we were not prepared for emergencies!

Perhaps we all need this type of downtime periodically. I do remember a similar two-week period while I was in France. A bad case of bronchitis had required that my companion and I remain inside. Winter had taken its toll on me, both physically and emotionally. Those two weeks were a good opportunity to review and regroup. The rest of my time in France was different because of those two weeks.

I keep thinking that a huge block of totally free time when I could work non-stop on my family history would be so-o-o-o desirable. Several years ago, I had about three months of such freedom. And, believe it or not, I didn’t get tired of working consistent eight- to ten-hour days while computerizing my notes.

So what would you do if you were housebound for two or three days? Then what would you do if the power went out? Even more serious, what would we all do if the power outage lasted for weeks...or forever. As dependent as we have become on electronic files, is it possible that we would one day be very grateful for a paper printout of our research?

Something to think about........when you have time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

All the winds that blow

Today the sun is shining. The temperatures are moderate. At least the heat pump isn’t overheating trying to strain a few warm molecules out of the frigid air, as has been the case during the past few weeks. One would think that all was well.

However, the weather forecasters are tentatively telling us that all is not well. We are right in the line of fire of another significant snowstorm. It is due to arrive in the early hours of tomorrow (Friday) morning and continue until late Saturday night. By the time it stops snowing, they are saying that we could have an accumulation of 12 to 18 inches.

Now, for some of you in other areas of the country, this is not an unusual situation. But for those of us in the Central Atlantic region (where we have been known go a whole year without seeing a single snowflake), this is not typical.

And it’s not as if we don’t know what we’re in for. Just a few days before Christmas, we had a knee-deep snowfall. I’m sure the merchants were devastated as everything ground to an absolute halt for several very critical shopping days. There are still mounds of scooped snow from that storm piled up in parking lots all over town.

School and church have been canceled in the interim as subsequent smaller storms have rolled through. There is no doubt that this weekend’s event will repeat that pattern for yet another week.

But today the sun is shining. The air is relatively warm. The already-present snow is conveniently not on the roads throughout town. I’ll be able to get out today to run a couple of errands.

Tomorrow, though, early in the morning, probably about the same time as the snow starts falling, one of our daughters will journey to the hospital to deliver her second child. Their almost 20-month-old daughter will be traveling with her other grandparents to a town about 45 minutes to the north.

Meanwhile, one of our sons will be awaiting word on whether or not his offer on a house was accepted. The answer is due by 5:00 tomorrow night.

Another son will probably wind up being stranded at his security guard job until the effects of the storm are cleared. An older daughter will be trying to cover her sister’s employment duties during her hospitalization. Our youngest daughter will have to see if she can get to the airport whenever it is functioning.

As I contemplate the impact the next 48 hours will have on our family, I take comfort in the fact that generations before have faced other momentous circumstances. Wave after wave of challenge swept over them too. Still, they did whatever was necessary to preserve and protect the critical elements of their lives.

We will survive this storm, despite its predicted severity. We will be eager to welcome a new granddaughter and see what unique character she will contribute to our growing family. We will be concerned about the status of her older sister who is very attached to her mother. We will be anxious about our son’s imminent next step into adulthood. We will be praying for the safety of the others as they strive to meet their responsibilities.

Still, today the sun is still shining. Tomorrow it will go into hiding while Mother Nature tests our mettle. And then it will ultimately return and shed its warming rays on the multi-layered blanket of white. But, just like our predecessors, we will get through this and add several new experiences to our scrapbook of eternal memories.

May we brace ourselves and stand firm, even in the midst of the heaviest adversities that blow. The sun will always shine again.