Yesterday morning she passed way – Sarah Leora Tolman Hinton – she lived a long and wonderful life – 86 years. How grateful I am for her and the wonderful legacy she has left for me to look up to. My grandpa passed away just a little more than 6 years and she hasn’t ever truly been the same since.
As I have thought about her and my grandpa over the last day I have been trying to figure out how to describe them and their lives and do it any kind of justice. Last night I went to a Church fireside about “Simple Abundance” – in today’s world of never having enough stuff – simple and abundant rarely go together – we always want more stuff and that satisfies us for about two minutes and then we are ready to move on to something else. And usually someday at some critical point in our life we realize how worthless that effort has been and how we wished we have spent more time on the stuff that really hangs around – family, memories, people. My Grandpa and Grandma must have realized that early on because they lived the good life for seemingly their whole life – family, people, and experiences were always more important than possessions.
Another phrase that came to mind was “Quiet Magnificence”. Their lives were spectacular in a seemingly unspectacular way. My Grandpa was a store manager, postmaster, served in WWII, gardener extraordinaire (how we loved coming to his house in summer to can peaches, applesauce, etc…), and plenty of other things I am sure I just haven’t read about yet! My Grandma was a teacher, mother of 8, served faithfully in a variety of church responsibilities, and family genealogist. They raised 8 wonderful kids who married 8 wonderful people. Their kids became Educators, Accountants, and Engineers. Those 8 kids have raised some 50 grandkids that have started to become Educators, Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, and a host of other things. They were moral people – they loved America and my Grandpa served in the military as did some of my uncles. They believed that America stood for freedom and morality. They were concerned about the moral abyss that we seemed to be sliding into where we tolerate everything and stand for nothing. They were kind, loving, caring people who believed in community. They are the epitome of what made America good.
My grandma and grandpa were good at keeping journals and wrote their life histories. They compiled the life histories of their ancestors as well. So I have access to a treasure trove of information about my heritage that tells me what it means to be a Hinton, Durfee, Cox, Tolman, and host of others. So now the quest is mine they have fought the good fight and truly lived spectacularly – what will I do with their legacy? I simply hope to live worthy of it.