Tuesday, December 28, 2004

#128 - Blogs as Family History

A couple of words of explanation. First, the numbering of my posts (beginning with this one). Blogspot has, for weeks, insisted that I have only written 96 posts. I sorta felt like that may be something of an understatement, since that 96th post was written somewhere around Halloween. I was pretty sure I'd written a few posts since then. To prove me right, Mrs. Woody gave me my best Christmas present this year: A compilation of my posts, printed and bound into "Volume I." (Woody's Woundup, Wonderwood Academy Press, Christmas 2004) A quick count of the index showed that my post titled "Counter-Education" was number 126, which also means that Mrs. Woody only missed one post in her juggling act to get my last entries printed and bound. Seemed I wouldn't shut up, and she had to draw the line somewhere.

So, to defend my honor, I've decided to start numbering my posts. Note to Mrs. Woody: Volume II begins with post number 127, 'k?

The second thing to explain comes from recent analyses of blogs and their increasingly important position in the world of communication. Many, many bloggers are of the opinion that blogs will or already have replaced or otherwise supplanted the MSM in the dissemination of information to the world at large. Certainly, as I read through my past posts, that's what I started out to do. It made sense, back in June, to blog about political hot buttons, since that's what was foremost on my mind during the summer and fall of this past year.

The funny thing is, once we held the actual election I had no trouble whatsoever switching gears. While some politically-centered ranters struggled to find their post-election voice, Ol' Woody just shut off the political spigot, and opened the one labelled "Dad Stuff." That's what this blog has become: a virtual monument to the world as seen through the eyes of one very average Dad.

In this Dad's world, politics still come into play, but they no longer occupy most of my waking moments. World affairs are still important, but I am fully aware that there are many, many more competent minds out there who can dissect and disseminate this stuff far more effectively than I. Will I still offer my opinions on these subjects? Of course. I am, after all, a male, and like all males I suffer from Male Answer Syndrome. You bet I have an opinion. I'm just trying to limit myself to areas where I feel I'm on somewhat solid ground.

Which brings me to my subject for post number 128: Blogs as a form of Family History. For several years now I have been an amateur genealogist. I've gotten good at it, but my amateur status remains secure. The wonderful thing about family history (as opposed to "pure" genealogical research) is that you can record your family's history in any number of ways today.

Twenty.... um,... lessee, eight from four is... ok, twenty six years ago (nearly twenty seven now!) I left home to serve a mission for the Church. Part of the ritual in those days was something called the "Missionary Farewell," which basically served as an excuse for family and close friends of the departee to roast him in front of three hundred people. The missionary would then get, oh, about two minutes to stammer a brief testimony and sneak out the side door and into oblivion. At least, that's how we wanted to leave once our loved ones got through telling every embarrassing moment of our young lives. You have no idea how hard we struggled deciding whether some members of the family should even be allowed to approach the pulpit.

Anyway, Grandma got the family together one day, not long after I'd left, to make a tape recording of everyone wishing me a good mission and telling me they missed me (except for the previously mentioned family member who, if memory serves, said something about having taken over my room and good luck getting it back, bwahahahahaha!). The second side of the tape carries portions of my Farewell. About every five years now I come across this tape and just have to pop it in the tape player.

This is family history.

For one thing, three of the people who appear on this tape are no longer with us. Grandma and Grandpa died in the late eighties, and my Dad passed away in 2000. For another, hearing everyone's voices from that many years back is just neat. A time capsule, if you will, of sounds that my children and grandchildren will enjoy listening to many years from now.

My wife is a scrapbooker, and we have one entire room of the house dedicated to her enterprises. Every scrapbook she creates is, itself, another version of family history, replete with photos that are well-preserved and protected, plus journaled thoughts throughout to serve as a living record of our family's activities.

This blog? Just another way to preserve Daddy's thoughts for future generations. Especially when Mrs. Woody goes to the trouble to print them out, index them, bind them, and have them available for anyone to read through, even if/when Blogspot goes down for the final digital count.

Please believe me when I say that I am not conceited enough to believe that this blog will have a lasting impact on anyone outside my immediate circle of influence. But for those who care, I do this out of love.


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