Grand Junction, Colo.
There are a number of memories I hold dear. Most of them have to do with feeling so lucky that I was able to have really good times with my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents.
Each September our large extended family would gather in Amboy, Indiana, for an annual family reunion. And each year, as I got older, I grew to appreciate the wealth of knowledge and experience that was passed on from generation to generation.
My great-grandfather, Clarence Howard, farmed most of his life using horsepower. His last workhorse was named 01′ Bid. During a family reunion in 1948 he got the older great-grandsons mounted on 01′ Bid and posed for this photograph. I’m first, then my cousins, Dave and Steve Ulrey, with my brother Larry on the rear.
I’m sorry to say it was my generation that broke away from the years of family tradition. In the 1960s most of us moved away from northern Indiana and scattered across the country. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do, venturing out to make our own lives. And I’m sure that much of the confidence to do so came from the sense of security created in the extended family.
There’s not much communication between those of us who are left and we are probably poorer for it. I’m not really sure if anything can be done about it. Perhaps too much water has passed under the bridge. Life goes on, things change, so I’m told.
I think I’ll call my brothers.
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.