Far Is More Than Distance

Hello, all! Welcome to me playing catch-up on the #WingWritingChallenge. I missed Day 2 already. Sheesh. I forgot to warn everyone that I go pigskin blind on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays in the fall/winter. Good luck getting ahold of me …

So, Day 2 of the #WingWritingChallenge gives us the words “far away”. My first instinct was to write about the friends and family that are 1800 miles away from me right now. That’s pretty far, right?

Side note: if you say far in your head enough times, it sounds completely fake as a word.

Due to my being a day late I was able to see what the other participants wrote – the ones who stayed current, that is. There are at least two of us trailing behind. I perused through their posts yesterday, and it was enjoyable, as expected. Everyone is well written and they all have different perspectives. That’s what makes this fun, right?

Uncomfortable with the idea of writing about my friends and family yet again, I let the topic bob around in the vacant space that is my brain on football Sunday. My Lions and My Companion’s Saints lost, our mutual secondary team Denver won, so all in all not a bad day.

The Divisional match that was the Packers and the Vikings last night was an oddly disappointing game to watch. Way to go, Vikings, but what the hell is going on with Aaron Rodgers? Considering his dead eyes by the beginning of the fourth quarter, I began wondering if he had been abducted and the aliens replaced him with a clone that wasn’t ready just yet.

Far away … don’t want to write about the family … they are pretty far away … but it’s a short ride on an airplane … three hours isn’t that long … it’s way better than …BINGO!

This will be a post that mentions family, but not in the way that you think. I’m fortunate that I had ancestors who kept their written correspondence from lovers, husbands, brothers, and friends.

My favorite letters that I’ve read come from one of the World Wars. They’re letters from a soldier off to fight, sent to his sister. They tell a fascinating tale of times gone by. He wasn’t given a proper mattress at boot camp and had to stuff a sack with something to make a pallet to lay on.

He travelled the French countryside and said the people were nice there.

Simple stuff that really tells what it was like back then.

But these aren’t the documents that I meant to write about today. I wanted to mention them because I could.

The journal that I’m thinking of today was a family member who took part in the California Gold Rush.

gold.jpeg

Most of that side of the family is originally from the Lansing area. They spread out some when cars became prevalent, as was the way back then, with members ending up in Delton, Dowagiac, and Battle Creek. All beautiful areas.

The relative who kept this journal started out on the family farm. They wanted to go out West, make their fortune in the Gold Rush, and come back home triumphant. The first part of the tale is packing up supplies and going to a town near St Louis, Missouri.

Going from Lansing, Michigan, to St. Louis, Missouri, is approximately 8 hours to drive. I should know, I’ve done it multiple times. I could probably still tell you how to do the drive without pulling up directions. That means I’ve done the drive enough times for it to stick in my memory.

It took them eight weeks in a covered wagon. EIGHT WEEKS!!

wagon.jpeg

The people of that era were definitely not spontaneously taking that drive multiple times in their lifetimes. This was a huge commitment, beyond 3-4 tanks of gas.

They signed on with a wagon train that was heading to California and continued the journaling while doing so. They spoke of peaceful run-ins with Native Americans, horses dying from lack of water during a dry spell in the plains, the fear of making it over the mountains before it snowed.

On average, they traveled 10-15 miles a day.

That is so FAR from any experience we will ever have in our lives unless absolute hell happens and we’re taken back to a time similar to the Victorian era.

The journals and letters are a fascinating way to see how far we have come as human beings. Especially technologically. We know that the invention of the car changed the course of humans, but how often do you hold in your hands proof of it?

And it’s not only the cars and electricity. It’s the way our morals have changed, our convictions. The way we speak and think of each other and other nationalities and races. That was back in the mid-1800s. We definitely did not keep their mores.

We have come far as a species, and we have farther yet to go.

One final note: the family member did find gold, and brought it home. He found enough to buy and build his family farm. No more, no less. Happy endings are always nice!

 

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