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Where Are Your People From? 

November 10, 2015

One more bend in the road. 

One more twist of the pavement.

Surely it will be around the next curve. 

It’s 48 miles from Spokane, WA to Tekoa, WA. When you’re a child, it feels like forever. My parents would keep us entertained by having us watch for the Tekoa train trestle. It was an unlikely Mecca that we visited on a regular basis. 

Tekoa really doesn’t have much to attract random visitors. It’s an hour’s drive from Spokane down state highway 27. But, this little town of less than a thousand people has had a strange pull on me and mine for generations. 

Where are your people from? Not necessarily where are you from. I’m not personally from Tekoa, WA. I haven’t been there in ages, and while we drifted back and forth through the town, like the rising and falling tide fills and then drains a tide pool, it’s the town that represents my family heritage. It’s where folks go to die. At least so of a particular generation. 

Where are your people from? When people ask, is your family from around here? What do you answer? 

And does it matter if you have an answer? 

I think it does. And if you don’t have a place you’re from, you should pick one. Shelly Ausmus wrote a blog post about the tiny town of Tekoa, WA. I reposted on my Facebook wall with a link that said, “I’m from here.” I tagged the older generation; my uncles, aunts, second cousins. Not surprisingly the post got reshared a couple of times. The one that surprised me was my oldest daughter. She reshared and said, “I’m from here.” 

She’s been there once. 

When one of my children was born in Pullman, WA we took her with us when we went to pick him up from the hospital. During the three days we had to stay in the area for the paperwork to finalize, we drove up to Tekoa. We drove through town and I pointed out my grandparents’ old house. And we went to the cemetery and cleaned their headstones. We walked through the cemetary and I pointed out the Warwicks, the Graffs, the Blairs; ancestors that were only stories and names on a pedigree chart to her. 

I don’t know why it surprised me that she would claim this tiny little farming town on the Idaho border as one of her cultural birthplaces. I’m glad she did. It’s good to be from somewhere. It builds continuity. It builds a connection between the past generation and the next. 

It’s good to be from somewhere. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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