Navigating

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I’m standing here in my hotel room, looking out over the top of the other hotels, looking into the distance and seeing the Rockies stretched out across the horizon. I’m looking at the clouds as they grow, billow out, turn darker shades of blue and lazily drift across the sky. I’m looking out and thinking back to the July that’s slipping away into August. I’m looking back and missing my family already, even though we parted company just a few hours ago.
Most of the good photos are still living on my camera, which I’ll need to upload and add to this blog. The wedding photos will have to wait for a later post. Chris, the newly acquired member into the clan, will soon learn what it’s like to be a part of this tribe. He’s had four years of experience, four years of Dad’s bad jokes, Mom’s amazing skills of organisation and Facebook contact with his wife’s far flung siblings. The kids are camping now. On their honeymoon. Personally, that would be my version of hell. But anyway…
It’s been great to reconnect with family, meet members that have been hiding in the woodwork and also make new friends. A highlight for me was meeting Eileen (or re-meeting, as I’d met her when I was a child). Leeta Eileen, daughter of Leeta. Leeta was the younger sister of Guy, born in the house made of mud. Eileen is Grandpa’s cousin. You follow me?
My sister-in-law Constance and I were standing in a side aisle in the church, waiting for the wedding to begin, when this very smart looking woman in a beautiful brown and light blue dress walked up to us. Constance was introduced to Eileen. I then put out my hand, said “I’m Cassandra, the bride’s sister.” Suddenly, I was all wrapped up in a wonderful hug. Eileen had just been to see the artwork at the Art Guild. It took me a minute to work out that this was Grandpa’s cousin. She had tears in her eyes and I think that was down to seeing the house where her mother was born, the mud house which features prominently on the Nebraska plain.
Oh, Eileen. What a joy it was to meet her. During the wedding reception we talked about the stories we’d been passed down from the family. Maria descended from royalty, so I’ve been told. She married beneath her. That Joseph. Son of a farmer. I’m not really sure what to make of all that. The family research will surely continue for many more years. This will please ancestry.com as I fork over more hard earned cash to them.
I will be keeping in touch with Eileen. Teacher. Taught in Bolivia and Ukraine, but mostly in Eastern Nebraska. I could tell she was a teacher at 20 paces. She’s got that look about her.
And so. And so. Navigating old territory, me. Navigating new. Like the pioneers using landmarks to guide them, I shall be trying to figure out what my own life’s milestones are telling me. I kinda think that meeting Eileen was life letting me know I’m on the right track.

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