As I sat on my brother’s couch yesterday drinking strong coffee and watching my great nephew play with his dog, it occurred to me that our father will live on forever in heaven AND on earth. The next generation carries his genes and even though they are mixed with those of another family, some of his traits will surface. Someone will say one day, “___ reminds me of Dad when he does that.” One of my nieces already reminds me so much of mother that it sometimes takes my breath away.
I mentioned the strong coffee because drinking it takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. She made coffee that could “stand a spoon up” as granddad was fond of saying. When my aunt was here for Dad’s funeral she drank coffee at my house and commented, “You must like strong coffee.” Yes, I do! And at least one of my children loves coffee as much as I do.
My brother likes to garden and is much, much better at raising vegetables than I am. His orderly rows and abundant harvests immediately bring back memories of walking in our grandparent’s garden in California when I was a young girl. I’m sure he will try to pass those skills on to his grandson and perhaps find a receptive audience.
My father loved to fix things and often “figured things out” without instructions or plans or help. I see those traits in all of my brothers and my son, and although I know the basic inclination is simply a “guy thing”, some of the creativity and stubbornness that goes along with it is pure Bob Simmons.
Of course we don’t even have to discuss talking and story-telling. There are a couple of men in our family who already have the “Simmons gift” of entertaining an audience. You know who you are! Part of their appeal is that grin that lets you know right away you’re going to be glad you listened.
Each generation slightly alters and refines the family mold, but no one can completely transform the set of genes that makes us a unique group set apart from all others. Bits and pieces of our ancestors go forward with each generation. Memories of habits and traditions modify how we do little things each day. Behaviors taught by our parents and grandparents guide our conscience, even though we may choose not to obey. Our health, our habits, and our happiness are all affected by the generations that have left us and will influence the ones we will never meet.