Thursday, July 31, 2008

Walking with ghosts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

My father's last-surviving first cousin was buried in Kansas on Tuesday at age 102. This cousin's mother, who was one of my grandfather's older sisters, was born in Illinois before traveling with her parents by train to Dodge City to take up homesteading in Meade County KS in 1885. Many years later, this county was ground zero for the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Although it remains one of the country's most arid regions, the land continues to produce winter wheat and corn in great abundance.

People in olden times did not make life changes and set out to endure the natural or man-made challenges of the frontier because they expected anything to be easy. They had a hope that life could be different and better. Instant gratification was an unknown concept.

Every remembered detail and nuance of their lives is information, caution, and inspiration for how we might take action, engage change, and assume risks in order to make life in our day different and better.

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