Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ancestor Appreciation Day

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By Diane Forrest

I was talking to my aunt the other day, and she was getting ready to decorate her home for the fall season.  Back in the old days, we only decorated for Christmas.  Now she decorates all year long.  She puts up aster trees and decorations, then spring time, summer, July 4th, when school starts, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then back to Christmas again. As she was talking about her decorating she claimed that "my ancestors didn’t do all of this."   to which I replied - "Mine did!!"  Once she started decorating her house, she supplied her sister, my mother, with decorations for the different seasons for her home.  Once I moved out on my own, I was also supplied with decorations.  Now that my son has his own home, I expect I will be supplying his wife with decorations for the seasons.   It seems funny that a small little task likes decorating your home is something that could be passed down from generation to generation.
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That reminds me about a story about cooking roast.  This woman's recipe called for cutting off both ends of a roast before cooking.  She never could understand why.  She asked her mother, who gave her the recipe why the ends were cut.  She told her, well that’s the way we have always done it.  She then asked her mother the reason for cutting the roast.  Her mother replied, well I had to, the pot wasn't big enough.

We learn so much from our ancestors, and also about our history.  In fact, genealogy studies are the second most popular hobby, behind gardening.  A friend of mine's father and grandparents came from Italy.  He has seen pictures of the ships that transported them, and also other papers from when they immigrated to this country.  He found most of his information on Ancestry.com.  His father met his mother in America.   She was born in America, but also of Italian descent.   Their marriage combined the history of Italy, as well as the customs of America.  He fondly remembers watching his mother cook the Old Italian recipes and special holiday treats, and even occasionally prepares these dishes for his family.  These have been passed down to his children and they will one day pass them down to their children.
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Learning about our ancestors not only includes decorations and recipes, but you can also learn about health issues as well.  Many of the diseases people have are genetically coded in our DNA.  This includes the color of your hair and eyes, to heart disease or diabetes, or birth defects.
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Today is Ancestor Appreciation Day.  I found a picture of my son dressed up as a Wild West gangster.  I would imagine if he had lived in that era, that is what he would have looked like.  If he keeps that picture until he has grandchildren, I’m sure they would think he was a criminal in his younger days!   I also found a picture of my husband's grandfather, made a few changes such as coloring his hair and adding glasses and the result was nearly the spitting image of his grandfather, as shown in the picture above.  So, today, pull out your photo albums, and see if you can recognize traits in yourself that are noticeable in your family tree.

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