Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pioneer Face

A couple of months ago, Trent and I had a little weekend getaway.  As we were driving around the city, we stopped in at a historical society museum and looked around.  I've always been drawn to old things and historical stories, so I could have easily spent several days there.  On every wall hung portraits of people long since gone.  Posed family portraits, individual faces mounted behind rounded glass, formal wedding pictures, stiff groupings of social events...  The old photography rendered their bodies still and their faces grim.  Rarely did I see even a flicker of a smile.  

I wonder who these people are, and what the occasion was for them to have a formal portrait taken.  Was it in joyous celebration of a life event?  A memento for a too-distant loved one?   I'm sure their expressions wouldn't have always looked so grim, but that's how I always see them portrayed.

I know some of their stories, and I've read of hardships that my own ancestors faced.  It seems, in the histories, that they often went from one trial to the next.  Tranquility doesn't make good plotlines.   I'm sure they triumphed, and rejoiced, and had happy times - I wish I knew more about those.

Late at night, I often feel like I have pioneer face.  It's harder to feel happy when I am tired, and my challenges seem to grow ten sizes after the sun sets.  Maybe when I feel my mouth fix into a grim line, and my eyes start to stare coldly, I'll have to imagine a pioneer party.  They made it through their trials - so can I!

This is my ancestor Eunice Reasor Brown, born in Kentucky in 1808.  She birthed nine children, buried a two-year-old and a three-year-old, and adopted a Native American boy who was sold to her by his family.  She accompanied her husband in an army battalion during the Mexican War, and helped him build a new city out of arid nothingness.  She accomplished so much in her 50 years - so can I!

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