|My parents. The picture is about|
30 years old, but it's my favorite.
My father, and his mother before him, loved Texas books and amassed an extensive collection, many of them quite old. I have a bookcase full of Texas books (which is only about a third of the collection). Several of them are traditional history books, delineating the roots of Texas, or Mexico's part in the state's past. Some of them focus on a specific subject, such as economics or law. The ones that pique my interest have more to do with the settlers' day-to-day life or their altercations with neighboring tribes. Daddy also collected maps, usually of Texas but other areas as well. Some were quite old and show the progression of the state (or country) as it was discovered and settled. But my "real" inheritance was a love of Texas history and the tenacity of the pioneers. I've read how an hour long trip for us translated into days for them. I've traced cattle routes, located Indian tribes, and witnessed the expansion of the state to the west on the maps. The journeys and experiences of early Texas inhabitants filled me with an awe and admiration for their strength and adventurous spirit.
Another gift I received from my parents was a love of travel. We took long family car trips during summer vacations. One year we drove to San Francisco via the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde. Another year we drove to Maryland for Daddy's naval reunion, and visited Washington DC and Williamsburg en route. We were fortunate enough to travel outside the US as well: Mexico, the Bahamas, Italy, Spain, England and Scotland. All of our adventures instilled a wanderlust that lives in me today; I love to travel (and driving is my favorite means of transportation). Although trips to Europe are awesome, I experience the same thrill discovering a small Texas town. And, of course, when I drive, I can take the back roads (my favorite) and enjoy serendipitous stops along the way.
The most precious gift from my inheritance is a love of family and the traditions we have that mark our occasions together. On Christmas Eve, we all sign a white tablecloth that is later embroidered in red thread. This tablecloth has been in existence my entire life and it chronicles births, deaths, and marriages. You can find a "signature" from my toddler days (it was a line), the addition of children, and the deaths of family members. It is a physical manifestation of the history of my extended family. Each Christmas Eve, I delight in "re-reading" it, reminiscing about our times together, tracing the threads of our lives.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family that valued adventure, learning and relationships. These are some of the true gifts of my inheritance (there are more) and are much more precious to me than any of the "things" I received.
Have you received intangible gifts from family or friends? What were they?
Have you been there?