Friday, May 01, 2009

Shepard Family Update, May 1, 2009

No matter what you've done
for yourself or for humanity,
if you can't look back
on having given love and attention
to your own family,
what have you really accomplished?

-- Elbert Hubbard

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

A friend of mine recently shared the following story with me that I want to pass on to you.
At a restaurant a while back, I overheard a conversation between a mother and her children. They were getting ready to drive over the Sierra Nevada mountains to Tahoe for the first time.

“After lunch, we’ll have to stop and buy some chains,” the mother said, making conversation as they waited for their food.
“Why do we need chains?” her young son Andrew asked.
“We’ll have to put them on when we get into the snow.”
“Snow!” the little boy said, filled with excitement.
“Probably a lot of snow,” the mom reassured her delighted child.
But then the boy became curious. “But, why do we have to put on chains?”
“It’s the law, and it will make us safer.”
“Chains?" The young child was getting concerned. “Will it hurt?”
“No, of course not. We’ll have someone put them on for us.”
That still didn’t satisfy the young boy. He was struggling. There was silence.
Mom was starting to realize what was going on. “Andrew, do you understand that the chains will go on the tires of the car?”
“On the CAR?” A huge sense of relief came over the child.
“Yes, on the car.”

And with that, mom gave her child a big hug. The family had a laugh over it. All was okay. The trip could continue in a most delightful way. Without the youngster and the rest of his family having to wear chains.
Have you ever noticed that families are places where misunderstandings arise? Of course you have. I have too. And because of that, families -- at their best -- are also places where love and attention are given.

Speaking of misunderstandings, I received an email this past week which let me know how badly I misunderstood a family celebration that was held recently. The email was from Becky Davis, daughter of Mildred (Beck) Davis of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Mildred (see a picture of her) is the sister-in-law of my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard, and the last surviving member of her generation within our family. Happy Birthday to Mildred, whose 98th (NOT 99th) birthday is today. Here's what Becky said in her email to me:

Good to hear from you, Steve. We enjoy reading your updates on family that we have lost touch with over the years. I remember when Beverly and her family and Will and Bura came to the farm when we lived in the Boise City, OK area and later Beverly and I corresponded for awhile. When we moved to Calif in '58 she came to see us in Tracy.
We had Mom's birthday celebration [last Saturday] on the 25th because we had conflicting plans for the next Saturday. She will only be 98 instead of 99 on May 1. I think she held up having 45 people around better than her daughters did. She was still ready to play chicken-foot that evening. Sunday morning she seemed to have as much energy as usual and attended services.
Daughters Jessie Bushong and I live here and care for Mom. Nordeen Cochran lives in Spearman, Texas and is here for a week. Charlotte Taylor lives about 2 miles from us, and Kathy Villanueva lives about 5 miles away. Her son Bud will be in and out for 2 weeks. Mom has enjoyed having all 6 of her children here.

Besides 6 children, Mom has 22 grandchildren, 50 great grands, and 25 great, great grands. Most live in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. We are all looking forward to the visit from Dane and Elmer on the 5th of May. Thanks, Steve for keeping memories alive. ...Becky Davis

The first picture I am including (above) is a picture of Dane Shepard with 4 of Mildred and Jesse Davis' children, taken recently when Dane was in Bartlesville for a visit. Standing, left to right are Jessie Bushong, Becky Davis, and Kathy Villanueva. Seated is Charlotte Taylor.

The second picture I am including was taken in 1968 and shows Bura Davis Shepard with her 6 siblings in front of the South Flat Church of Christ in Beaver County, Oklahoma. Upper left in the white hat is Bura Davis Shepard, and upper right is Mildred Davis' husband Jesse Robinson Davis, who died the following spring. Partially hidden in the back is Lawrence Davis. The other sisters are Winona, Myra, Margie and Esther.

These 7 children of James Brooks and Caroline Davis (see a picture of them) represent quite an impressive legacy today. Bura herself accounts for 44 direct descendants (of which I am one) with at least one more on the way. Brother Jesse, according to the numbers above, accounts for 103 descendants! If you add up the descendants of the other 5 children, God only knows what the total would be! 500 or more, I am guessing. (I've lived in towns smaller than that!) Actually, making a list of all the descendants of James and Callie would be a great project for someone. Who'd like to take it on? I wonder if it could be done by the time of our family reunion this July?

Speaking of the family reunion, it will take place Saturday, July 18 in Newcastle, Oklahoma, a few miles south of the OKC Airport. In next week's post Dane Shepard will give a detailed update on the planning so far. As I have mentioned before, I am putting together a Photo Presentation for the reunion and would like to have pictures of each family unit, including as many descendants of James and Caroline Davis as possible. Please email digital images to me, or, if you have photographs, send me an email and we can talk about what we might do.

In the meantime, have a wonderful May Day!

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