I know what you're thinking...a good news post about Donna's family? WTF? These miracles do happen occasionally. First, my big brother is coming to visit in a couple of weeks. Big, as in tall, and big, as in 7 years older than me. Now that my other brother is gone I feel like my sister and brother and I are a more cohesive unit. He's a software consultant and is currently working in Orange County (he lives in the Vancouver area), so he's driving up to spend the weekend with us at the end of the month instead of flying home like he usually does. I can't wait to show off at the farm. He knows nothing about horses but loves animals, like all of us kids.
The second family news came out of nowhere; well, actually it came out of Northern Ireland. Back in April my Dad's father's brother's grandson called him from a small town on the Irish Sea near Belfast. If you didn't get that convuluted connection, my grandfather and his were brothers. Probably the best news is his wife runs a B&B and he told me to save my pennies and come and stay as their guest for as long as I wanted!
My Dad told him to call me since I am the current keeper of the family history, so he emailed me and we exchanged pictures, then he called me too. He has a soft accent, much less than I was expecting. We talked for about 45 minutes and he gave me some very interesting tidbits of information, the most surprising of which goes towards my "roots of riding".
It turns out his father and his father and his father and so on back to at least the 15th century were all horsemen, specifically farriers, the guys who shoe the horses. They worked for the very wealthiest families in England and one of those families bought a large piece of land in Northern Ireland and when they moved over they brought my family's ancestors with them to continue to tend their horses. His father still works at a famous thoroughbred breeding farm to this day. He has a daughter who is a land surveyor and a son who is a professional rugby player!
He says we could spend two weeks just in graveyards. He also said you can't speak to the dead, which is why he is making an effort to get to know as much as possible the family that he's just discovered. We've continued to send emails and pictures back and forth since then. I hope he's getting as much of a kick out of this new relationship as I am.
Here's a few pictures from the area where the family has lived for generations, County Down. I just love the rolling green hills and the close proximity to my beloved ocean.