As I have climbed our family tree
I have not found any royalty.
No kings or presidents can I boast
And I have searched from coast to coast.
History books don't record their name
and none are known for fortune and fame.
Our people earned their living tilling the soil.
They earned their bread by hard labor and toil.
They worked from sun up to sun down
To tend their stock and clear their ground.
All day they followed behind their plow.
They earned each penny by the sweat of their brow.
No there is no royalty in my family line,
Only the salt of the earth can I call mine.
And when we meet on the other side
I hope they can look at me with pride.
By love and sacrifice they proved their worth.
They lived that I might have my turn on earth.
- Bernice A. Swain
My grandmother wrote this little poem. It can be found in her Book of Remembrance which is in her home. I find my eyes watering each time I read it. I don't know why I find her poem so touching. Maybe it's the passion with which she wrote it. I feel her love for my family everytime I read it. Maybe it's the idea of meeting our ancestors someday. I imagine what that sweet reunion may be like and although we didn't know many of them on earth, I have no doubt that we knew them before and will continue to have relationships with them after. Maybe it's the accountability I feel to those who went before me to honor their name. The sacrifices they made, their hard work, their heartache, their risks, and their succeses have shaped my life. On this Memorial Day I am grateful for those who have gone before me. I echo the words of my grandmother and hope that when I do meet them again they will be proud of the way I honored them.
Happy Memorial Day & Happy Finding!