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What I Learned Today: The Dash


Today was a really sad day for the area I live in. On the evening of July 4th in Brookings Oregon, a small plane left the Brookings airport to return to the Grants Pass, Oregon area. The plane never arrived home. It went down killing the father, his 17 year old son and his son’s friend. They crashed in the ocean, and they still have not found the plane. It has been a heartbreaking week for this community.

Family and friends have been gathering together for the funeral. People have traveled from far away to be here to show love and support for this family. I have heard nothing but great things about this family and that the father “lived and loved life.”

It reminded me of a poem written by Linda Ellis about dates on a headstone. The dates are important, but what mattered most was the dash between the years: The Dash. This tragic event re-taught me about the lives we live, the lives our ancestors lived. I guess that is what we do as genealogist. Try and figure out what our ancestors did with their dash.

Listen to Linda Ellis read her poem, "The Dash."

It’s also a reminder to me to spend some quality time with the living. Put down the cell phone, turn off the technology and even walk away from the computer. How do they say it? “Take time to smell the roses.” It’s a reminder to me also that we need to be a bit kinder, love a bit harder, be more accepting and a lot more tolerant and forgiving.

It’s a reminder that we can make a difference in someone else’s life, maybe it’s just a smile or a wave. Maybe it’s just a look up here or a search help there. As we continue to live our dash between the dates, may we step up and be a better person. Yep, that’s what I learned today.

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