Family Telling

By sjwny, a Trail Mix Contributor

Recently I received information about my paternal Grandfather’s family. This wasn’t your usual genealogy consisting of born, married, begat, died. This is a history of a family going back to the early 1700’s. My cousin worked years on this, contacting as many descendants of an 18th century Copenhagen Merchant as he could track down. Cousin Leif wanted stories about these people. He refers to it as Family Telling. A majority responded & it is incredible: A living document about long dead people who come alive through letters, writings, remembrances.

I never knew 90% about this branch of my family before I read this remarkable work. Holy cow, 5x Great-Grampa graduated from the University of Copenhagen, became a teacher & with his twin brothers did their best to spread the ideas of the Enlightenment to colleagues in Denmark. Another relative was part of the “Golden Age of Danish Painting” who was also the godson of Constanze Mozart, widow of Wolfgang. I teared up when I read translations of letters my Grampa Hans wrote to his family in Denmark, especially his words about my brother & sister. Also teared up when I read the remembrances of a cousin who was taken by the invading Germans during WWII & made part of a work gang who cut peat into blocks for fuel.

The importance of words, both good & bad, should be honored & recorded. You will never be forgotten if someone remembers.


I would like to propose one day of words – only words – used on this blog to comment. No links, no videos, just you. Any topic. The beauty of the written word to be celebrated, read & remembered.

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By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

I feel compelled to write a piece about the Broadway show Hamilton. The reason is that I just finished watching the PBS special that originally aired on 10/21/2016 called, Hamilton’s America! This is an amazing behind the scenes look at the show, it’s creation and, most importantly, the history of our country.

hamiltonI was watching the Tony Awards in June and was enthralled watching Hamilton win award after award, totaling 11 by the end of the night. I’ve seen various snippets of the show on YouTube and heard most of the soundtrack. I’ve seen/heard enough about it to know it’s something that I’m interested in. I will definitely see Hamilton the moment any local theater group presents it, as I have done many times in the past for other shows. It won’t be the same cast, but the words and the power of the piece should be transferable to any theater production. It’s tough to be a Broadway lover when you can’t get to Broadway, but we make do.

If there is anyone who, like me, thinks they know about Hamilton, the musical. If you’ve heard anything about Hamilton, seen YouTube videos, think you know what it’s about, even if you were lucky enough to see in live on Broadway you must watch Hamilton’s America!

Not only does it showcase the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda who is described as a modern Shakespeare, and the other creators and cast, but it’s a history lesson. I would venture to say that it’s one of the best history lessons I’ve ever had about this group of founding fathers.

It was impressive how much the cast had imbued themselves with the history of the characters they were playing. I was blown away by how well they not only knew their characters, but how well they understood them, warts and all. I think what makes Hamilton unique is that they show how human and flawed the most revered people in history can be, but they also show that their flaws don’t cancel out the good that they did.

There are many familiar people in this program talking about our history and Hamilton, the man and the show. You’ll all be happy to see our favorite Senator from Massachusetts 🙂 She’s brilliant, as always. President Obama has a lot of very eloquent things to offer as well.

I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil it. I really want you all to try and watch Hamilton’s America if you can. If you have a Roku, it’s on the PBS station until 11/18/2016, that’s where I watched it. I believe it may also be on the PBS website and may be time limited there as well. It’s runs for 1:22.

I hope you love it as much as I did and I’m looking forward to some discussions about the show, the people involved, the history of our country and how this all still applies today and anything else that it moves you to talk about.

Happy viewing!

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Car-No Car

By Pilar, a Trail Mix Contributor

I was at the mechanic when they opened; it was still dark outside.  The mechanic had no desire to tell me when the car would be ready so I decided to walk the four miles back to the house. This became an awakening.

First, I stopped for a cup of coffee, then set off down Turkey Lake Road.  I walked a few hundred yards and saw some people with hoodies; not good.  According to the “news media,” people with hoodies can be trouble.  Some called them “thugs,” a code word.  I returned to the coffee place then realized the “thugs” were just kids with hoodies heading to school.  The point is, I never would have had this thought if I was in my car.

So I took off walking down Turkey Lake Road and finished my coffee, there were no trash cans; what do people do with without trash cans coffee cups?  We have them in our cars or just throw them in the back seat.  I walked three miles before I found a trash can.  That’s where all the trash comes from; people without cars have no place for trash other than carrying it.  So, it winds up on the side of the road and people with cars complain about all the trash.

Along Turkey Lake I saw that Universal Studios had built an enormous fence around new construction; I thought maybe they could give Trump a hand with his wall.

After a couple of miles a bus stop beckoned and a bus happened along.  Being a little tired of walking,  I got on the bus and found out how people without cars are treated.  I asked the driver if I could pay with paper money; the driver grunted and pointed at a cash machine then lurched the bus forward as I held on, held my coffee, and tried to get money out.  The coffee spilled; the driver did not care.   I asked how much and the driver grunted something again that sounded like “more.”  It cost two dollars.  I asked if the bus was going to turn onto Sand Lake Road toward my destination and the driver grunted and shook his head “no.”  After a one-half mile ride, I got off the bus and thanked the driver who replied with another grunt.  They don’t treat people without cars very nicely.

While walking down Sand Lake Road toward the Crawford’s, I got thirsty and needed a rest room for a little relief.  Where do people without cars go for water and relief?  Not to worry, with a car they will be somewhere very soon.   I found a grocery store, went in to look for the men’s room thinking there should be a water fountain; there was.  No one in the store paid any attention because I look like someone who would have a car.  Otherwise, I would have been shown to the door.  The people in the store were very nice to me.  I was happy I had a car,  although at the moment I was carless.

I got back on the road with another mile to go.  I entered the Bay Hill enclave and after a few hundred feet the sidewalk ran out.  Where do people without cars walk; in the street?  Without a car, you walk in the street.  It made me wonder if this was by design to keep people without cars out!  This was not a pedestrian friendly place; wonder why?

Then there were the no trespassing/no solicitation signs for people without cars.  The people who walk on Sand Lake Road might think the no solicitation signs have another meaning.  No trespassing, hmmm; what if I was not an old white guy but was wearing a “thug” hoodie?  How far would I have gotten into the no sidewalk community?

Up until now, no one paid a bit of attention to me, but now, in Bay Hill, they were waving as they passed in their cars.  I have white hair and beard so I must have resembled someone who “belonged.”  They just kept waving and smiling so I waved back and felt like I belonged.  This is nice, but I thought I might not be so welcome with a “hoodie.”

Two women, on bicycles, on the other side of the street rode by waving and shouted “good morning.”  I must have looked like someone from “around here,” nice treatment.

Note from Craig: Pilar is my cousin-in-law who was recently visiting our Southern Command in Orlando. He is a renaissance man I much admire, who can repair a faucet, cook a gourmet meal and build a boat — and submit a profound essay such as this. Hoping he’ll become a regular Trail Mixer.