While browsing the Web recently, looking for connections to my roots, I googled "Howardtown" and received some interesting hits. One was a newspaper article from Jackson, Alabama. It turned out to be an interesting insight into my family's history. The reporter had interviewed my father's half-brother, Charlie, who had given her detailed information on the Howard family and its roots in Howardtown, Alabama. I e-mailed the reporter and told her I was a relative of the Howard family and did not think too much more of it.
A few days ago, I received a call from Charlie Howard, my father's half-brother. What a surprise! We were able to relate information to each other about the family. It was almost like a time-warp. But in a good sense, I was able to connect with my roots.
Today, I received an e-mail from my cousin, Darlene Tortorici, who is Charlie's daughter. She sent along recent photographs of her family. How refreshing to receive information about your family, and those you didn't even know existed.
What does this have to do with anything? I think that in a world that is increasingly isolated from friends and relatives, it is important that we maintain our sense of being and belonging. I have preached a few funerals that were so sad, because hardly anyone came who knew the person. How could you live for 80 years on this earth and not have more than ten friends who came to your funeral? And yet, there are many people who have slipped into that place of loneliness and abandonment. Maybe not intentionally, but it just happened!
Don't let it happen to you and your family. Keep in touch. I have attempted with my siblings to do a little part by sending each of them a card on their birthday. In some small way, I hope that we will remain a part of each other.