A woman of poise, courage under fire, and grace…

Let me tell you of my magical two weeks with a woman of poise, courage under fire, and grace.

A woman, who as we drove away from her home on Tuesday, 14 June 2011, was informed of the death of a close relative, whose funeral would be held on Friday.  The family members were actually coming from all over the West for a family reunion that weekend–a reunion she would have to miss because of her commitment to us.

We actually presented 4 Family History Expos in 2 weeks–a team of Circuit Riders:   speakers and vendors–and attendees–under her very watchful eye.

We arrived in Loveland CO on Wednesday evening 22 June.  And as we retired to bed, this remarkable lady received another phone call from home with  news of the death of another close relative–this time a 4-year-old boy run over by a truck backing out of a neighbor’s driveway, where the child was riding his bicycle.

Without loosing stride, she cow-girled up to this second tragedy.  Confronted an unyielding conference-venue staff on behalf of her speakers and vendors.  Negotiating for rooms and rates that were being withheld.  Making sure that we had promised vendor spaces and access to wireless for our equipment.

Attendees cheered as Holly Hansen told of her Grandma Surprise, an early Colorado real estate mogul and then announced that we would be back again next year, bigger and better than ever!

And on the long drive home, we discussed heroines on our own family trees that faced incredible odds to survive their harsh environments and leave a legacy of hope and love.  Holly Hansen certainly demonstrated poise, and courage under fire, and grace enabling all participants in this remarkable and unique circuit of genealogy education to learn and earn.

In this blog, from time to time I would like to share some of the heroines we talked about with you gentle readers–some who may be your own kinfolks.  Like the Kentucky Librarian who traveled through the dark woods of rural Kentucky with books and magazine in her saddle bags bringing literacy to hundreds of residents.

Like the early American woman tomahawked in the abdomen by an angry Indian watched her husband and infant child scalped.  Then crawled into a hollow log by day and bathed her feverish, torn body in the creek by night.  She made a needle of wood and stitched her gaping abdomen closed.  Later she married a second time and birthed 15 children from that re-built womb.

Like the photographer’s wife who nursed Civil War soldiers in her own living room hospital.  And who later claimed a pension from the United States Congress for that service as a widow left with and aged mother and two small boys to care for.

And would you share with me, some of the stories about the women on your pedigrees?  Our women are often overlooked or studied in the shadows of the men in their lives.  I would like to feature these heroines in their own light.  Your favorite (and very excited though worn out) genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com

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