i am not my ancestors
december 22, 2013
The sleet and ice we had certainly brought my shopping to a halt, at least in the brick and mortar stores, but not online. I was thankful for the internet for I do not go out in the ice and snow. Fortunately, I had been grocery shopping before it hit and was able to prepare hot meals and drink plenty of hot tea while we huddled in the house after losing power. When we built the house in the country, I was aware we might be without electricity so I chose gas for cooking, but not for baking. Of course the microwave could not be used for heating my left over lasagna so I sautéed it to get it hot. It was good. We had to heat water to wash dishes and rinse them. We are not used to that.
We were careful about opening the fridge door and moved most used things to the garage fridge because it was so cold out there; I thought opening the door when the temperature was 40 would be less apt to spoil than in the 60-degree den. We did not seem to lose any food to spoiling during the outage.
We closed off all the doors to the den so that the one or two stove-top burners could keep the room warmer. The den never went below 62 degrees. We were fortunate. The bedroom is on the north side and it got down to 41, but with lots of quilts piled on the bed, we never got cold at night. In fact, we were toasty.
The ice on the concrete porch was so thick it almost reached the top of the brick covered porch. The driveway must have had well over an inch of ice. Even when the ice began to sublimate it was useless because the freezing fog followed and iced it over again.
All this made me grateful for all what we had during the power outage. I began to wonder about our ancestors. How did they keep their food fresh? It was canned, salted and smoked, all labor-intensive. They kept warm by burning wood and cooking their meals in the fireplace. Doing so was also hard manual work that was necessary regardless of their health.
I am not my ancestors. I am spoiled by all our modern conveniences. I missed being in my office typing on my computer, having electric lights and watching television at night. I missed not having the hot water heater that supplies hot water to the kitchen for washing dishes. Yes, they had to be hand washed. There was no mail delivery on Friday and no phone to call and talk with anyone, other than my cell phone. Maybe worst of all was no warm bathroom and hot shower! I am certain I disappointed my ancestors.
I can’t imagine all the hardships my ancestors experienced as they lived their daily lives. Those hardships are unknown to me. Those were not the “good old days.” Those were days of extreme hardship. Nevertheless, they survived to produce another generation. I hope that each generation had fewer hardships than the last. At least we had only a couple of days without electricity, but thankfully, we never lost our gas, water, and sewage. I am thankful for our modern conveniences. No, I am not my ancestors.
Let’s all be thankful this Holiday Season. Happy Holidays!
SAMFORD INSTITUTE OF GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH NEWS: Often referred to as IGHR, this is an in-depth week-long course concentrating on a chosen subject. Every serious genealogist should consider this offering. Registration begins on January 21, 2014 . When registering remember to pay close attention to the course name, not the number as you have done in the past. The classes for 2014 are:
(1) Techniques and Technology; (2) Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies; (4) Writing and Publishing for Genealogists; (5) Military Records I; (6) Irish Genealogical Research; (7) Researching African American Genealogy: 20th Century Research; (8) The Trans-Mississippi South; (9) Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents; (10) Virginia: Her Records and Her Laws.
Note that the Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis Course previously taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Course 3 for 2015) will not be offered in 2014, and Lloyd Bockstruck’s course on Southern research will not be offered in 2014 because both people have retired.
For more information, visit their website at www4.samford.edu/schools/ighr/. To subscribe to their listserv and receive all announcements about future IGHR classes send your request to the Library Web Team at www4.samford.edu/schools/ighr/IGHR_communication.html#Listserv.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.