Friday, January 23, 2015

A Better Week

This morning started with hearing laughter in the kitchen while I was still drugged with sleep – even though it was almost nine.   I assumed it was Gerald watching television until I became more awake.  As I gradually began to think more clearly, I realized that it was conversation I was hearing and it must be Mary Ellen and Brianna at the kitchen table with Gerald.

I hopped out of bed as rapidly as I could (which is not very fast since age had made me do everything slowly) and hurried to the kitchen in my flannel pajamas to see our guests.  It was already on my agenda to be sure I saw Brianna today since this evening she is heading to Florida for her spring internship at DisneyWorld.  She and Trent grew up going there, taking Disney cruises, and celebrating at this magical place, and the internship program had been a dream for her.   She has worked so much during her first two years of college that we all are hoping (even though she is going to be working there too) that this will be a spring of fun and relaxation.

Well, finally I think all the Christmas decorations are  hidden away in closets for another year.  I used the word “think” because just like the artificial grass or even  stray jelly beans have  a way of popping up in surprising places weeks after Easter, so do remnants of the Christmas season sometime. 

I still want to look over the Christmas cards and re-read the letters. I used to always do this on New Year’s Day, but I haven’t managed that for a couple of years now.  I also  have a handful of envelopes to check to make sure the address has not changed from what I have recorded on my very worn and messy lists.  The computer lists with addresses that I once knew how to use to print address labels are long gone with long-ago computers.  There are so many things I used to know how to do on older computers that I have never learned to do on this one, which I have had for several years now.

I have always managed to transfer over essays on Elder William “Cedar Billy” Martin that  have been started and stopped for many years. My last  summer project was to update and finalize all I had discovered about my great great great grandfather as a Christmas gift for my children.  That project was abandoned back in October when I had to stop and prepare for a Trail of Tears presentation.  I had planned to finish with Cedar Billy by August 1 and then September 1.  Then I was into October and still working on it when I had brief times to write.

Over and over I was almost done with this grandfather’s story,  but I kept finding details that I needed to check out or questions to try to answer. I was also trying to go through entries on a family Internet group had been  made over many years about our family history.  Completion just kept being delayed.  Finally I had to discipline myself and quit writing and start reviewing what I once knew about the excruciating 1837-38 march that our government forced the Cherokees to make through our region on their way to what later became Oklahoma. 

I feel this historical journey is one that should be known by all Americans in order for us to acknowledge that we too have sometimes acted as brutal terrorists. Only one vote in the Senate caused an illegal treaty to be passed.  Yet in the midst of that sinful federal debauchery, there were many kind souls who refused to bow down to Satan and Andrew Jackson, and those people  ministered to and helped the Cherokee and the other tribes sent west.  It is  important to know some stood up for what was right regardless of the laws passed. Many of our ancestors had no way of understanding what had transpired since prominent citizens and much of the media quoting those self-serving citizens and officials gave misinformation to the masses.  Many, of course, could not read anyway since educational opportunity was scarce back then. 

 I think it is important for us to be aware that we may do terrible things and think we are fighting for righteousness. So back in October I put aside the family information I was working on.  And I struggled to get ready to talk about the terrible trek one group of humans made another group of humans take through Southern Illinois when the two bounding  rivers froze over and the snow on the ground between the rivers was spotted with blood from feet whose moccasins had worn out.  And the aged and the infants were buried in our soil.

The stack of papers and the notebooks on my grandfather has been moved around several times since then, but I have never gotten back to that undertaking, which I assumed I would start up again in November.  But I didn’t.  Now I know that  I must review, sort through all those papers and try my best to wrap up that project. Sometime. But not this weekend.  Family is coming in tonight, and I am happy and excited.  Maybe next week, I will restart.  Reckon I will have it completed for my gift to the children next Christmas? 

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