Thursday, August 29, 2013

Howdy Y'All, August 29, 2013

We are not what has happened in our past, 
nor what we have done...
We are who we choose to become... TODAY!
~Timber Hawkeye 

Greetings to all of you from the home of my niece Kelly and her husband James Sauvage in Weatherford, Texas. My mother Maida Gower Shepard and I are here visiting family we don't get to see too often.

Happy Birthday Lyndsey. We are here in the Lone Star State on the birthday of Lyndsey Aquiningoc, older daughter of Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc, daughter of my brother Gary Shepard. Happy birthday to Lyndsey who turns 23 today! The first picture shows Lyndsey with her cousin Nate Sauvage at Lyndsey's birthday dinner earlier this evening.

Around the year 2000 this part of our family moved here from San Diego, and after a decade of life here, with 3 new births, they seem to be settling in quite nicely. Over 200 years ago our ancestors migrated from the East Coast to the West, ever moving westward and southward. Even though they settled for periods of time in places like Indiana and Oklahoma and Texas, the move westward continued for some of them until they reached San Diego in the mid 20th century.

But now some of us have returned to the area of our 19th century roots here in north Texas and Oklahoma. Even though I sense that there is still some longing for life in Southern California, this move appears to be a permanent one for these family members. At least as permanent as any move can be in these day of easy travel and relocation.

A Great Great. One of the reasons we made this trip was so that my mom Maida could meet her first Great Great Granddaughter Kambree Kay Bowman, daughter of Mandi Aquiningoc and Steven Bowman. The second picture shows the new momma Mandi on the left next to Great Great Grandma Maida Shepard  holding baby Kambree, with grandmother Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc next to them and auntie Lyndsey on the right.

Here is a 12 generation lineage from Kambree to 18th century Irish immigrants Thomas and Eigness Shannon. 
  • Kambree Kay Bowman (b. 2013)
  • Mandi Aquiningoc (b. 1992) and Steven Bowman
  • Kerri Shepard (b. 1968) and Manuel Aquiningoc (1961-1992)
  • Gary Shepard (b. 1946) and Jackie Enderle (b. 1947)
  • Maida Gower (b. 1924) and Eugene Shepard (1921-2003)
  • Nola Shannon (1903-2004) and Leroy Gower (1899-1974)
  • Samuel Pickens Shannon (1858-1930) and Finetta Dearien (1861-1960)
  • David Reid Shannon (1821-1864) and Peggy Ann Gray (1829-1899)
  • David McKnight Shannon (1790-1860) and Anna Pickens (1785-1867)
  • David Shannon (1756-1823) and Jane McKnight (1759-1830)
  • Samuel Shannon (1727-1811) and Jean Reid (1725-1806)
  • Thomas Shannon (1686-1737) and Eigness Reid (1686-1737) - Irish Immigrants
On To Arkansas. There is a reason I traced Kambree's roots through her Shannon Irish heritage rather than some other part of her heritage (including her grandfather's Guamanian heritage). This weekend my mom and I will be attending the annual Shannon family reunion in beautiful Mountain View, Arkansas. My next post will include reflections on that event.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dog Days of Summer, August 22, 2013

From the ages of 8-18,
my family and I moved around a lot.
Mostly we would just stretch,
but occasionally one of us
would actually get up to go to the fridge.
~Jarod Kintz

Greetings to all of you from our home in San Diego, California where Cindy and I have landed for a few days on a "pit stop" of sorts in the midst of these very busy dog days of summer. 

Next week my mom and I will be traveling to Texas and then to Arkansas to touch base with family members in both locations. In Texas Maida will get to connect with her first, and only, great great grandchild (that's right, count 'em: TWO greats), while in Arkansas she will attend a family reunion in the town of her birth and the county of her roots.

Happy Birthday Amanda. This Sunday, Aug 25, is the birthday of one of Will and Bura Davis Shepard's G grandchildren, Amanda Ortiz of Blue Springs, Missouri. She is the daughter of Kim Clark, and the granddaughter of Thelma Boyd. The first picture was sent to me by Amanda and shows her in a recent photo.

Amanda: Hi Steve! Yes, I will be turning the big 30 on the 25th! I was able to go out and celebrate with my friends in San Diego on August 3rd, which was a blast. I will be able to celebrate this weekend with my family by going to dinner. Looking forward to see what my 30's will bring! Thank you for the birthday wishes!

The news from Bothell, Washington is good regarding our newest family member Logan J. Shepard who was born 4 weeks ago to Nicole Haw Shepard and her husband Patrick. Logan remains in Evergreen Hospital but is making some encouraging progress as he grows and develops. 

The second picture shows a smiling great grandmother, my mom Maida Shepard, holding little Logan for the first time this past weekend during a visit she made to the hospital to see him.

- - -
Steve Shepard

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not To Be Confused, August 15, 2013

You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you
as you are to them.
~Desmond Tutu

This past Saturday 25 of us attended a family reunion at the home of my mom Maida Shepard in Anacortes, Washington. The weather cooperated beautifully providing us with a sunny, pleasant afternoon. Memories were shared, a delicious meal was enjoyed, laughter rang out, young kids were underfoot, young and old relatives were embraced, news was shared of recent events and loved ones were remembered, under the trees of Fidalgo Island. 

We came from Texas, California, Oregon and various locations in Washington. We were named Shepard, Clark, Bell, Kilpatrick and Davis but we shared one spirit of family love.

The picture above shows those who attended the reunion. Thanks to Jerry Clark for this photo. From left to right are Jerry, Preslea, Nathan, Darrell, William, Chenda, Steve, Mary, Cindy, Russ, Steve, Linda, Chris, Jessica, Pam, Rachel, Maida, Barb, Don, Donelle, Janet, Bud, Cindy and Gary.

Logan Update. Not pictured in this lawn photo is Nathan and Chenda's 2 year old Logan A. Shepard who was sleeping off a raucous morning of activity. Logan A. Shepard, by the way, is not to be confused with his cousin Logan J. Shepard, son of Nicole and Patrick Shepard, who was born July 24, but who is still in the hospital with his parents at his bedside. The news brought to the reunion by his grandparents Darrell and Mary was that Logan J. continues to improve as his family remains optimistic and looks forward to taking him home sometime soon.

A Tribute Tattoo. One surprise moment at the reunion was when Steven P. Shepard unveiled an impressive tribute tattoo to his late grandfather Eugene Shepard, who passed away exactly 10 years ago. Steven P. Shepard, by the way, is not to be confused with his uncle Steven D. Shepard, the author of this blog. Steven P. is the one with the bumper sticker on his truck that says "Guess where I am pierced". Steven D. does not have a bumper sticker. Nor a truck. Not even a piercing. (How baby-boomer boring I am.)

Happy Birthday Linda! Tomorrow is the 20th birthday of my niece Linda M. Shepard of Anacortes. Linda M. Shepard, by the way, is not to be confused with my late sister Linda R. Shepard (1950-1971). Happy 20th birthday to Linda, who is the youngest granddaughter of Maida Shepard. The picture above, taken at the reunion, shows Linda with her parents Russ and Pam, and her brother Steven.

Many thanks to those who helped make this a special event (providing food, doing the setup, cooking, etc.) especially my mom, Maida Shepard, at whose home we met. Maida I. Shepard, by the way, is not to be confused with the youngest of her three G granddaughters, P. Maida Shepard.

- - -
Steve Shepard

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Family Reunion This Saturday, August 8, 2013

Family reunion:
a chance to share our history
a reason to celebrate our past
a time to welcome our future.

Hello family and friends! Greeting to all of you from Anacortes, Washington where Cindy and I are helping with the final arrangements for our family reunion this coming Saturday. It is obvious that the family members who live here have done a lot of work making arrangements and preparing for a wonderful gathering. We look forward to family and friends who will be here from places near and far this weekend at the family home on Wildwood Lane.

Happy Birthday Heather! Our family reunion this Saturday falls on the birthday of Heather Robson Cotton, a member of our family who lives in Texas but is from right here in Oak Harbor, Washington. Heather the daughter of Paula Tuzzolino, and the granddaughter of Vicki Gower Johnston. Heather lives with her husband and their two daughters in San Antonio. The first picture shows Heather with her older daughter Tori.

Happy Birthday Jeremy! This coming Monday, August 12, is the birthday of Jeremy Ortiz, who lives with his wife Desiree and their 5 children in Blue Springs, Missouri. Jeremy is one of the G grandchildren of Will and Bura Davis Shepard.

Desiree tells me that "Jeremy will be 33 this year! He is keeping busy here in Missouri working all the time and on his days off he is coaching oldest son Damian in football and Ashlyn in soccer. Such a good Daddy:) The picture I included is Jeremy and his best friend Armand on our recent trip to San Diego."

The latest news on Logan Joseph Shepard, the new baby of Patrick and Nicole Shepard, is good. He was born July 24, but remains in the hospital in Seattle and will have to be there for a few more weeks. The word I keep hearing from his family is that he is improving and doing better all the time. But he still has some real health concerns and remains in our prayers.

A Family Historian Extraordinaire. In a previous blog post I included a picture of a family reunion in Anacortes some years ago. I asked if anyone could name all of the people in the picture. (Scroll down two blog posts to see the group picture.) My mom Maida responded with at least the first names of everyone in the picture. She therefore deserves my praise as an extraordinary family historian! The picture was taken in 1994, and must have been taken by Gary's wife Cindy, who is the only one not in the picture.

And finally... it was 10 years ago today that my dad Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) died here in Anacortes, Washington with his family gathered around him. We remember him fondly and will always have him in our hearts.

He loved family reunions and will have a special place in our memories as we gather this Saturday. Thanks be to God for the good life he lived and the wonderful family legacy he leaves behind.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Sweet Sorrow, Aug 3, 2013

Bless this house
O Lord we pray
make it safe
by night and day.

It is a time of sadness but joy as we pack up and move out of our home here in the mountains of California, in the tiny town of Dorrington. Later today we will drive out our long driveway for the last time. 

We have owned a home in Calaveras County for nearly 30 years, even though we have lived here full time for only a few of those years. Calaveras County is not the end of the world, but as they say, "You can see it from here." That is almost literally true. Alpine County, just to the east, IS the most sparsely populated and most remote county in the entire state of California. 

So now the time has come for us to sell our home and leave this scenic, forested locale.

The memories of our life here are many, whether in the winter with the sometimes heavy snowfall, or in summer when we hiked the mountains and basked in the beauty of the High Sierra. 

Here are a few of the special memories that we take with us as we leave:
  • the historic winter of 1996-97, especially New Year's Day when we awoke to 3 inches of water on our bedroom floor;
  • the time when a bear came through our yard, nose in the air, all too interested in the steaks I was barbecuing;
  • the time when a bold bobcat sat in our snowy driveway and we stared each other down (I was in the safe confines of our upstairs study!);
  • the many ski trips Nathan and Cindy and I enjoyed to Mount Reba Ski Resort, up the hill a short ways;
  • the summer of 1998 when Nathan lived with us and worked at Bear Valley;
  • the time when we had 29 youth and their sponsors from our church spend the night here before a ski trip;
  • the time when Gary and Cindy drove down our icy driveway and their car slipped into the forest and they had to do without it for a few wintry days;

  • the time when the "Yayas" (a group of women in our family, spent a week here (see picture);
  • the many other times family and friends visited, especially those few times when our dads enjoyed themselves here, in both cases not long before they died;
  • the Sunday morning about 10 years ago when a foot of fresh snow made getting out of our driveway a daunting challenge; our Jeep Cherokee powered through the soft snow and then the berm at the top of the driveway, but just barely, and we made it to my church responsibilities on time;
  • the few times recently when our young grandchildren were able to visit (see picture of Presela on her bicycle);

  • the Christmas when we dedicated this house, with a blessing that included the prayer at the top of this post.
What a great home this has been for us, and what a special area this has been in which to live. But life changes and with sweet sorrow we move on. This house has blessed our family in many ways. It will now be a blessing to someone else.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Who Are These People?, August 1, 2013

“Fred, you next," the plump woman said.
"I'm not Fred, I'm George," said the boy. 
"Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother?
Can't you tell I'm George?"
"Sorry, George, dear."
"Only joking, I am Fred," said the boy and off he went.”
~J.K. Rowling

Happy Birthday Lloyd! Today is the birthday of Lloyd Gower, the third Ggrandchild of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower and the son of Hershell Gower. Lloyd was married back in early May to Tammy Turman of Mississippi. This summer they moved to Lloyd's old stomping grounds of San Marcos in San Diego County, making Lloyd one of just a handful of Gower descendants left in San Diego county. 

Lloyd's ancestral namesake was Lloyd W. Gower (1896 - 1918), the brother of his Ggrandfather (and my grandfather) Leroy Gower. Lloyd W. Gower was born in 1896, 3 years before his younger brother Leroy. Lloyd W. was killed in 1918 in World War I in Lorraine, France when he was just a 22 year old soldier. From the hills of Stone County in Northern Arkansas, Lloyd W. Gower is one more in our pantheon of ancestors who gave their lives in service to their country and to whom we owe a great debt. He is buried near Mountain View, Arkansas in small Cooper Hill Cemetery, the final resting place for just 43 people, 22 of whom have the last name Gower.

Baby Logan Update. Pat and Nicole Shepard's baby Logan, who was born last week, remains in the hospital in Seattle but seems to be improving each day. Our prayers and best wishes continue to be with Logan, his parents, and his whole family. The second picture shows Pat, Nicole and Logan in the hospital when the three of them were able to be together for a short while last weekend.

James and Kelly. This coming Monday, August 5, is the wedding anniversary of James and Kelly Shepard Sauvage of Weatherford, Texas. James and Kelly were married in 2000 in San Diego, just before they moved to Weatherford, Texas where they live today with their two boys Nate and Kyle.

Chris and Amanda. This Tuesday, August 6 is the 7th wedding anniversary of Chris and Amanda Clark Farrell. Amanda is the daughter of Jerry Clark and Jane Clark Brock of Lubbock, Texas. Chris and Amanda had a destination wedding in Austin, Texas back in 2006 and live today in Frisco, Texas near Ft. Worth. Happy anniversary to both these young couples!

Who Are These People? August 10, a week from this Saturday, is our 2013 family reunion in Anacortes, Washington. A picture of one of our previous Anacortes family reunions is shown below. It was taken in front of the family home on Wildwood Lane on a beautiful day. (Will we be so lucky?)

How many of these people can you identify? (There are 28 in all. My guess is no one can name every one.) What year was this picture taken? And who was taking the picture? You can click on the picture for a larger view of it.

The one who sends me the most correct answers to those three questions will qualify as a family historian extraordinaire and will receive my most flattering praise in a future blog post. (Hint: check the "labels" below.)
- - -
Steve Shepard