As you likely know already, I have a strong interest in genealogy. There are over 6200 people on my family tree! But I am not the only person in our lineage who is passionate about this.
Melvin Echelberger, my mother's first cousin, has been not only gathering information about our relatives, but also has contact with many of those who are still living.
Over the years, Mel and I have consulted with each other by email, FAX and once by telephone when he lived in California. Facebook has expanded our opportunities to chat and share information.
Recently Mel and his wife, Charlotte, purchased property north of Orofino Idaho. He is now 85 years old but continues to amaze me with his pursuits - like building fence, riding his new motorcycle and caring for the animals on their farm. I decided that it would be a good idea for us to meet face-to-face despite the fact that I have a little concern that I might not be able to keep up with him!
So, the plan is that I will leave Medicine Hat on June 28th and we will celebrate Canada Day and Independence Day together at their place.
I was wondering what to take for a host gift. Because this is a big birthday year for our country, I purchased all things Canadian for them - maple syrup, a 1000 piece puzzle of our symbols, a flag the hang outdoors, maple leaf cookies, Moose droppings, a 150 Birthday blanket in red and white, as well as other Canadian trinkets.
It is interesting how relationships develop. Mel and I have three things in common. We are from the same family tree so are connected genetically. We share a passion for genealogy and have communicated about that for years. Our careers also have parallels. Mel was a paratrooper medic who worked with mental health cases and I am a psychologist who sees Veterans and military personnel.
When my granddaughter, Mikaeli, who is also interested in history, heard about this, she said "Grandma, make sure that you take along a pen and lots of paper to write everything down". When I return home she will want to hear about what I did and learned about.
It is going to be ten hours of driving each way but Mel sent me a map of the best route to take and it looks like there will be beautiful scenery along the way.
Did you have plans for Canada Day? Or Independence Day? Do you have relatives who you have been meaning to visit for some time but never get around to making the trip?
Sometimes you just have to make a decision, set out a plan and follow through. Each of us has the opportunity to set goals. If you never take a chance you won't experience interesting adventures!
Life is a series of choices - hope you are making good ones!