How much do know about your ancestors?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

I was a little worried about my decision to drive to Phoenix when, after leaving Reserve, we stopped after only six miles, in the town of Mt. Airy. My mom wanted to be certain she had packed her medicine. She did and we were back on the road.

We were headed to visit my mom’s sister, Elma. Aunt Elma’s health prevents her from traveling and my mom doesn’t fly. Coy, my very kind and patient cousin, offered to drive her. I went along for the ride, and to distribute the snacks.

A lot can be learned while traveling in a car for three days. I decided to use the time to study my family’s history. Under the tutelage of Coy, the family historian and my mom, I gained not only knowledge, but immense appreciation for my ancestors.

On the second day of our journey, Coy produced a recording of my mom and five of her siblings. Another brother and sister died before the project began and three of the ones on the tape have since died. The recording was often stopped for Coy and my mom to elaborate the stories. I can’t imagine riding a skiff across the river to visit my grandparents, learning English to be able to attend school or living without electricity and plumbing.

If we had turned around after driving for three days, I can honestly say it would have been worth the trip. But we didn’t turn around. It had been six years since my mom and Aunt Elma had seen each other and the reunion was worth every mile. I was content to simply sit back and watch the two sisters interact.

Our first day in Arizona ended with a delicious meal at the home of my cousin, Phil, and his wife, Lori, who have warmly and graciously opened their home to us. Sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by family members I’ve known all of my life and ones I had just met, I truly felt as though I was at home. There’s just something about family. I would have traveled twice the distance for half the pleasure.

Ronny may be reached at