Friday, April 10, 2009

Shepard Family Update, Good Friday, 2009

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
~Phillips Brooks

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings from beautiful Tucson, Arizona where Cindy and I happen to be on this weekend of Easter, visiting some special friends. Today, "Good" Friday, is a day of great irony, but a day that carries a powerful message. If nothing else, it reminds me of something that our family members have learned time and again over the years: from great tragedy can come remarkable blessings.

When I think of the many untimely deaths among our family members (in recent years and long ago), when I think of the great hardships our family has encountered, when I think of the many obstacles they (and we) have had to endure, I am glad that there is a strong legacy of Christian faith among our people going back about as far as we can trace them.

Not all our ancestors were religious, of course, but many were. I salute them all for their strong character and their enduring spirit. It is great to know that we have a wonderful family legacy well worth celebrating on this Easter weekend 2009.

The first picture I am including (click on it to see a larger view) is actually 3 Easter snap shots taken about 20 years apart over the last half century. The first shows my sister Linda and me on Easter morning, 1953 at our home in Linda Vista in our Sunday finest (and that is about as fine as it got back then!). The second shows Nathan Shepard looking rather nonplussed with his Easter basket and inflatable Easter bunny on Easter morning 1978 at his Harris grandparents' home in San Diego. And the third shows 8 year old Rachel Shepard in Easter bonnet and gloves in 1995 at her grandparent's home in Anacortes, Washington.

Like many families we had a thing for fine clothes, church attendance, Easter baskets, and Easter eggs, both candy eggs and hard boiled. The first part of this triple photo reminds me of my family's Easter weekend ritual when I was a child. On Saturday evening we would dye our hard boiled eggs, magically turning them into "Easter Eggs", which we would then hide in various locations around the house or the front yard. Sunday morning we would then have an Easter egg hunt after which we would enjoy hardboiled eggs as an appropriate breakfast prelude to church attendance later that same morning.

One Easter, the weather was good enough that we hid eggs on and around our front porch on Rosecrans Street similar to the one which Linda and me are standing in the picture. It wasn't until sometime around May that one of the eggs, which had been hidden a little too well, made itself known by its rotting smell! The colorful shell was still intact, but the egg inside was far from edible.

On the right in the above photo triad is Rachel, whose birthday is this coming Tuesday. She lives in Kenmore, Washington with her mom and dad. This picture was taken last summer also in Anacortes, and shows Rachel with her proud father Darrell Shepard.

Have I mentioned before about our family reunion coming up this summer? ;-) All family members and friends are invited to make Saturday, July 18 a special day as we gather in Newcastle, Oklahoma from noon till 5 pm to celebrate the family bond that unites us.

Dane Shepard, who lives in nearby Blanchard, OK will be hosting the event and tells me that it appears that at least 50 people will be attending, from Washington to California to Kansas, Missouri, Texas and of course Oklahoma. If you have not yet responded, please do so by contacting Dane or Kim. Or let me know and I will pass the word to them. We are looking forward to a wonderful time of renewing family ties, seeing some new and old photos, enjoying one another's company, sharing a catered meal, and much more.

In the meantime, have a happy, colorful Easter!

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