Do you ever wonder where your love of something really comes from? With the loss of my mother this past year, sorting through stacks of letters, postcards, and family photos has brought a fresh understanding for some of the mysteries that lie within me. Naturally, I’m curious about family history and could spend hours, maybe even days sifting through items that meant something to someone at some point in time. Imagining the hands that touched them and the feelings that were attached intrigues me.
Even though I’ve never met the ancestors in most of the photos, I feel that somehow they live within me when slivers of their existence surface. Even though they lived in an earlier time, I can unveil pieces of their identities. It becomes real when I touch my grandfather’s baseball, read my father’s first grade report card, caress the silky bonnet my mother wore when she was an infant, and leaf through the book read by a boy who was confined to his bed. Those things are gifts and I wonder if others feel the same way when sifting through family treasures.
The photo above portrays my great-great grandfather, Jacob Burkett (on the right) standing between two working horses. As a youngster, I learned to ride English and jump over fences while staying in rhythm to the canter. As I grew older, I rode Western. There was always something magical about being on a horse even if it meant being on an animal with a quirky temperament.
Over time, I grew apart from this pastime I enjoyed, but like so much of my journey, it seems as if parts of my life are coming full circle. Writing took me back to the world of horses. When I trekked to Montana to do research, I knew I had to get back in the saddle. My favorite ride took us through tall grass and flowers, up winding rocky passages, and across fields of pines to a ridge where it seemed as if you could see the whole world. I’ve always felt at home on a horse’s back and there’s something soothing about working with an animal that speaks your language in a different tongue. And after finding photos like the one posted here, I wonder if I inherited that gift from my great-great grandfather. They say apples don’t fall far from the tree and I suppose this remains true regardless the gaps in our existence.
And with that, I leave you with this thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”
About the author
Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters.
Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA and the Capital City Writers Association in Lansing, Michigan. You can find Linda at her website and blog, and you can follow her on Twitter @LBradleyAuthor and on Facebook.
Read Uncaged Book Reviews‘ interview with Linda in the January issue HERE.
Available via Amazon Maggie’s Way :: Maggie’s Fork in the Road :: Maggie’s Montana
Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade.
Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.
Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond making it even harder for Maggie to say goodbye. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, her best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to wonder which fork in the road leads home.
Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye?
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