Being Grateful

In the UK we have a genealogy programme on the BBC called ‘Who do you think you are?’ It follows a celebrity as they are led on their journey through their family tree. Sometimes it concentrates on a particular family member, or an area of the country or event. Sometimes it simply traces the various lines back as far as they can go. For me, as someone who loves history and social history in particular, it is an hour well spent.

For years now I have been tracing my own family tree back through the generations. I have stumbled upon a few merchants who did quite well for themselves on the wider branches of the family but for the direct line hard work and modest achievement seems to have been the key. Good country and city folk who worked hard to provide for their families and carve out a life for themselves. There were a few rotten apples in the barrel but that was only to be expected when my research had been so in depth and all encompassing.

Oak tree in May by Luke Andrew Scowen courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

The job is not yet done. As any genealogist, amateur or professional, will tell you there are always new records waiting to be unearthed, new discoveries to be made and I still have one half of my family tree as yet mostly unexplored.

Whilst my Mum was a devoted reader, neither of my parents wrote anything more than the odd letter. No one in my immediate family has any compunction to write other than me. It leaves me wondering where my talent, if I dare call it that, comes from.

I had hoped that possibly somewhere in my family tree I would find a writer. A firm link back to a passion I have always had within me, a long lost ancestor whose genes I undoubtedly shared but alas no. At least not one I can prove.

It strikes me that I probably did have ancestors who shared my love of words and my passion for creativity but such were the circumstances that surrounded their lives it was impossible for them to pursue their dreams or give flight to their imaginations beyond perhaps story telling in the pub or around the hearth. I will never know.

Storytellers by Rebecca.Smiles courtesy of Flick Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

But it gave me pause for thought. How lucky am I to live at a time when all of these opportunities are available to me? In the rush and tumble of the modern word it is all too easy to lose sight of that.

So today, I’m feeling grateful.

Grateful by Barbara Olsen courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0

Thanks for the Memories

Memory by Silvia Vinuales courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0

I am grateful for the happy family memories that have been created over the years. Holidays and high days, summer sun and Christmas fun. Warm smiles and laughter and silly jokes. I’m grateful for the way that memories can spring from nowhere brought to the fore by a colour or a smell or a song on the radio and I am once again back there with the wonderful people and pets I have been lucky enough to share my life with.

I’m grateful that I will always have those memories stored away in my subconscious. A treasure trove to call on now some of the sweet souls who helped create them are gone. They will be there to comfort me on the cold days without them, they will help to dry my tears and make me smile again. And I am thankful for that.

Last night I had a dream. It involved close family members, some alive, some not. We were enjoying a day out sightseeing in London. We had a fine time. I can’t recall the places we visited but I remember how happy I felt. I came home with a glossy bag depicting some of London’s most famous landmarks and, bizarrely, a 30% off voucher for afternoon tea!

Whilst I have done ‘the sights’ in London many times over the years and sometimes with members of my family, I have never done it with the exact combination of people who undertook the trip in my dream. I have my memories to thank for creating that and I am grateful.

Heart by Seyed Mostafa Zamani courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0