I am blessed to be living today in a nearly two hundred year old farm home (albeit with electricity and indoor plumbing) where several of my forebears were born, lived and died. Outside, a blanket of snow covers the hills and tree branches as I reflect on the hardships they must have endured. The hills of the Granite State of New Hampshire were not conducive to easy living. The few open fields belie the struggle needed to create them. The forest trees were cut and stumps were burned. Millions of rocks were laboriously dragged from their original location to create countless miles of stone walls. Each Spring, as the frost pushed them into view, smaller rocks were added to the innumerable piles of those unsuitable or unneeded for wall building. All of this and more were needed to provide a place to grow crops for the animals, and for human consumption. I doubt there was much spare time to relax.
“Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go…“ begins the familiar New England poem written by Lydia Maria Child in 1844. It conjures fond memories from 1940s & ‘50s of the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays when my family – siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins would make the annual trek to our grandparent’s home to celebrate. It was usually the only time that most of the family could be together because farms with dairy cattle didn’t allow one the luxury of taking a day or more off. I sincerely hope that all of you will be able to be together with your families this Christmas. Remember the reason for the season is contained in its name. Cherish and enjoy one another. Make fond memories. Remember too that life is fragile. Handle with love and have a very Merry Christmas!
James Loren Thayer
President Thayer Families Association