I've been told, more than once, by more than one person, that my characteristics skipped a generation, because I am my grandfather. When he passed away, I was only 13 (are you doing the math :) so I really didn't know him as well as I would have liked to, so I have to take their word for it. I'm honored, actually, that the people who knew him the best would tell me that. While not everyone liked my grandpa, he was very well respected. He went through a lot of hardships and never gave up. He died a very successful man. He stood up for what he believed in, and most of all, he enjoyed life.
He sure loved his cars. I guess my version is the hay-eating variety of transportation :) By the way this picture was taken in front of St. John Grade School. Do you know how I know? Because it hasn't changed a single bit. The sign looks exactly the same today.
My grandfather also was the one who taught us that you never own an animal you cannot take care of.
This is my dad, when he was three, with a dwarf calf. I LOVE this picture. He hates it. Probably because he looks sooooo cute! My dad doesn't do cute. My dad has steely gray eyes.
They are actually blue, like mine. He got them from his dad, who got them from his dad, who got them from his dad who got them from his dad. I haven't been able to go back any further than my great-great-great grandfather George H McCandless, whose Civil War records mention he had blue eyes.George's dad, John McCandless, died suddenly when he was only 45, leaving George, at the ripe old age of 13 to take care of his family, including his mother who probably didn't even know yet she was pregnant with their last child when John died--she had Elizabeth Temperance 9 months later.
"Whenever you pass by the field where you have laid your ancestors look well there-upon, and you shall see yourselves and your children dancing hand in hand."
While researching our family history a few years ago, I was amazed at how the life stories of our ancestors came together, weaving a rich fabric of life. While they didn't leave their memoirs, their journeys told tales of hardships, perseverance, and the importance of friends and family. All in all, these people wanted one thing: to live a good life.
Their collective legacy is an inspiration which, along with my amazing and courageous friend Kim, teach me to be thankful for the things in my life that truly matter.
I am thankful for those with whom I am honored to share my life.
I am thankful for those who are still with me.
I am thankful for the places I've been....
and the people I've met.
I'm thankful for friends...
I'm thankful that I'm not truly want for anything, or as Kim better puts it, "Don't sweat the small stuff."
Because when it comes to the things in life that really matter, somehow I won the lottery. I truly have the life I wanted. On top of that, I have so many incredible friends, who surround me with love and support.
Thank you. And I love you all.