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dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 10:52 am
I have several Dads in my life, even though only one of them is my own.

For all the Dads out there, I hope this day is one you enjoy.
My Dad is nearly 75. He was 22 years old, when I, his firstborn, arrived.

I like to think we've done some growing up together. I know the last 20 years is probably where we've made the most progress.

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Although Dad's story is uniquely his own, the older I get, the more I marvel at watching the cycles play out in my family, largely due to Dad.

He was the only son in his family of four kids, and third in birth order. His parents instilled in him a solid work ethic, and he was also gifted with something that's become quite rare these days - common sense.

He knew you had to work hard to get what you wanted and needed in life.

This was one of the first things he worked hard for, and he probably considered it a need at the time.

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My Dad made his living with his hands. He was a mason, who created things with his hands out of block and brick. He had his own business. He worked long hours when I was a child, but I remember the times we spent together when he wasn't working.

Quite a bit of it was very close to the place where he lives now - the land of the Burris homeplace in Pope County, Arkansas...the place where his great grandfather carved out both home and business, and where his father was born. It was there that he showed me how to dig earthworms beside his Aunt Emma's chicken coop to use for bait when we fished. He was the one who showed me the low stacked stone walls our ancestors built when clearing the fields for planting.

Dad was nearly 43 years old when he married the love of his life. Together, they have made homes in three places - starting on that land, then moving to Michigan for several years, and coming full circle back to the land.

My folks and I compare notes on our family history. Dad has very matter-of-factly accepted some of the revelations I've made about our family history in the last few years.

He and I both enjoy finding the truth of our history, and recording it so it never has to be secret again.

On this Father's Day, I want Dad to know how much I appreciate the gifts of the love of family and pride of hard work he has given me.

I hope I am honoring him by passing those down.
One of the other Dads in my life is my son.

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In the last few years, my son has added two daughters to his family. He is the custodial parent of his oldest daughter.

That blows me away.

My boy has become a man.

I am in awe of how he does it...

And am struck by the similarities in the two Dads - both hard-working fathers, and acutely aware of the importance of family.

My son's own dad died in 2005. They were very close, and my son was devastated. He figured out that it truly does take a village to raise a child, and has embraced his village, which includes his own cousins and their children. All the kids will grow up with rich family connections - a new generation of Burrises with strong family ties.

I'm so proud of him I could bust.
For these very special Dads, I wish for you peace and contentment today.

You've both earned it.

Love y'all...
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 09:38 pm
It wasn't until I ran across the old images from the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War at the Library of Congress website that I had ever heard of such a thing.


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Women preparing corn outside a community canning kitchen in Atkins, AR in 1935



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Arkansas community canning kitchen, August 1935


According to Rethinking home economics: women and the history of a profession (Stage and Vincenti, publ. Cornell University Press, 1997), community canning kitchens sprang up in many areas across the United States during the Depression and continued in operation into the World War II era. "Community gardens and canning kitchens were excellent ways to assist unemployed families without the shame that usually accompanied accepting relief." (See page 161.)

When my son was very young and I was a stay-at-home mom, I grew a garden and canned for several years, sharing the chore with my next door neighbor. (We'd take turns heating and messing up each other's kitchens. The results were wonderful and very satisfying.)

But my canner was not nearly the size of the one in this Johnson Co., AR community canning kitchen:

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Interior of community canning kitchen in Johnson Co., AR - August 1935


As I was preparing to write this entry, Google searches revealed that there may be a resurgence in the concept of community canning kitchens today.

Oh, those cycles...they just keep coming around, don't they?
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, December 31st, 2010 11:31 am
This time of year, I am considering the cycles...the seasons of life around and within me.

The year past - what did I accomplish? What of it was really necessary? What might have worked better from another perspective?

I ponder those things, and then...

I let it go. I still cannot "unring" the bell. No one can.

So regret is not part of my paradigm. Particularly not in the autumn of my life.

Because I have learned some things my green spring self did not know, and things my growing summer self had not fully assimilated.

One of the most important things I learned to do was say no, and if I say yes, to stay in a thing until the goal is accomplished.

As far as shakin' my family tree goes, I am in it for the long haul.

I've been reading other geneaology blogs this morning.

People are making lists. They are excellent lists.

I need a list like that. I'll probably make one.

But my list has to easily fit into one of the other important things I've learned.

Life has to be fun. Not necessarily the fun of my youth. But still...

Interspersed with all the woulda/coulda/shoulda has to be an element that has the possibility of making me grin real big, and laugh out loud.

It's very cool that genealogy has some *very* fun things in it.

Like road trips - to a cemetery, old homeplace, courthouse, family history lecture...


Here's hoping your New Year is happy, healthy, and generously laced with fun.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, November 25th, 2010 04:57 pm
Boomerang kids...

Read that one a couple of months ago. It refers to grown children (or children who *look* grown) returning to the parental home for one reason or another.

Sometimes with kids of their own.

The article gave all sorts of tips and tricks about how to prevent the phenomenon, and "tough love" was mentioned.

At the time, I remember smiling and shaking my head as I read it.

Because boomerang kids is as 21st century as empty nest syndrome was 20th century.

Before about 1940, you didn't hear either one. Our collective history has been built on multi-generational families living under one roof, or very close in geographic proximity in a family compound of sorts.

And it worked.

Grandma and/or Grandpa stayed in their own home, as did each generation after them. You left feet first in a pine box.

So I don't think anyone needs to go beating up on themselves, or their boomerang kids, too awfully much.

Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Kind of like that butter/margarine argument. I believe we've come full circle on that one, too, haven't we?