Saturday, December 31, 2016

New beginnings

Shellie Byers - The clock strikes twelve, the whistles blow, a cheer erupts from the crowd as friends hug and sweethearts steal a kiss. There is joy and anticipation about what the year ahead will bring. The air itself seems electrified and alive in the moment. All things seem possible as we make restitution for our shortcomings in the prior year to move ahead in exuberance into the next. Imagine how many dreams are spoken to heaven in one day.
The smell of salt water fills the air amidst the pungent smell of fish. There is haste in your step as you collect your belongings preparing to board this ship. There is heartache rooted in your heart knowing you may never set foot in your homeland again. There is a moment of hesitation as you look back over the land burning the image into memory. One last moment to hang onto in the life you loved so dearly before heading into the unknown. Time seems to stand still as your thoughts and emotions take over and all the smells noises and people fade. "God, give me the strength, my life is in your hands." You turn away and walk up the wooden plank toward an unknown land and a new life.

This is how I imagine my great great grandfather felt fleeing his home of Sleshvig Holstein, Denmark when the borders were placed back into German control. The family boarded a ship and started a new life in Mauriceville, New Zealand as farmers. They flourished there for many years until another opportunity found them on another ship to South America. I have touched the pages of the handwritten books of my ancestors. Pages upon pages written to learn a new language in a foreign land and the business ledgers of the store they opened in Argentina. I recall smiling as I read some of the purchases. In the left column was a list of the merchandise bought and the right column said things like Dr. "so and so" bartered one pig. These books are a work of art with their calligraphy writing and attention to detail. And yet the story doesn't end there.

Mr. F. Brodersen and family, who left Mauriceville a short time ago for South America, have abandoned the idea of settling in the Argentine. In a letter to a friend at Mauriceville, and dated from Denmark, Mr. Brodersen expresses himself as well satisfied with the quality of the land, but states that he could never be reconciled to the laws of government. He complains that the country is infested with innumerable pests as yet unknown in this colony. Mr. Brodersen's sons have gone to Canada. - archived newspaper 

Another destination across the country, and my family settled in a small farming town in Halkirk, Alberta.

While we gather together to bring in the New Year declaring frivolous resolutions let's reflect on the footsteps that have gone before us . A time when dreams were limitless and courage, honor and integrity defined character. When faith and prayer engaged a person to believe "all things are possible ". Let us put actions behind words, redefine our destiny and build up our town and boldly believe for our nation.

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