“FORD: Drive the best, screw the rest.”
Those were the words on the bumper sticker on the truck ahead of me at a stoplight recently. Bold. To the point. Unequivocal. Reflective of a person with clear beliefs and a willingness to share those beliefs with anyone who possesses basic reading skills and the slightest sense of curiosity.
I felt as if I knew something about the driver of that truck even though someone else may have been responsible for the bumper sticker. For all I know, the actual driver may prefer a Chevy or a Toyota. Still, had I seen the driver, I would have thought: “There goes a serious Ford person.”
While we all project our personalities and character in many different ways, our projections are subject to the interpretations of others. Those interpretations are based on their life experiences, not ours. Is it any surprise, then, that our first impressions of a person are sometimes off the mark?
The more removed we are from relatives in our extended family trees, the more difficult it is to really understand what kind of person they were. In some cases, we are fortunate enough to have observations of others to help us, but too often our assessments are built around sketchy details and dubious “facts.”
While it may be difficult to reconstruct the distant past, we have a chance to preserve our own family legacies by leaving an accurate accounting of the stories of those we have known in our own lifetimes. Now is the time to start collecting them.