The Klinkenbergs all descended on Silver Falls into quaint cabins perched in a park like setting in the middle of Oregon, from all over the country, for our family reunion. No agenda other then to eat and visit. I spent 3 days learning more about what my roots are, soaking in the love of family everywhere, and noting characteristics that I have seen in myself and brother and dad walking around in many other Klinks that I never even knew where Klinks.
Flashing from the eyes of all my dad’s siblings and cousins was a consistent twinkle that spoke of happy lives and content spirits. That twinkle expresses itself in some as a quiet smile and in others as a boisterous laugh.
My roots do not contain any famous people or men and women noteworthy enough to appear in any history books, but what it does contain are hardworking folks that love their family, their country, and God. Many came from very poor families (my own dad never had running water in his home until he arrived on Oregon State’s campus as a freshman) and yet they have college degrees ranging from bachelors to PhDs and worked as civil, nuclear, and mechanical engineers; biologists; doctoral research scientists; teachers; and in the Marines. It’s a large family as my great-grandparents had 5 children all of which had large families ranging from 6 to 11 children each. I count myself immensly blessed that God chose to put me amongst their descendents.
Their children rise up and call them blessed and all of the older generation speak of having had such a full and wonderful life that they hope no one cries for them when they die but instead rejoices over a life lived with blessings overflowing.
George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch, in speaking of the main character Dorothea, pens a beautiful prose to this effect:
Her finely-touched spirit had its fine issues, even though they were not widely
visible. Her full nature spent itself in channels which had no great name on the
earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for
the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.
May I never forget the lesson I learned this reunion: to be someone who never desired status but instead spent my life caring for and loving others.