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The Oregon Trail and the Blood That Flows Within Us: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on May 27, 2013

BY THE NUMBERS

The numbers are inexact at best. During the mid-nineteenth century between 600,000 and one million settlers traveled the Oregon Trail, California Trail and Santa Fe Trail.

One step at a time, three miles per hour, twelve hours per day, covering nearly 2,000 miles of distance, the intrepid Americans marched westward in search of a better life. Death was their constant companion, taking the form of cholera, drownings, food poisoning, crushed bodies, gunshot wounds and yes, Indian attacks. The weather was their constant nemesis, whether it be scorching temperatures, tornadoes or torrential downpours and flooding.

Their destination was “the west,” that nebulous concept filled with hopeful dreams and the shaky promise of better offerings. They left their homes, their families and most of their possessions for a future that was at best a new start and at worst failure and possible death.

One step at a time, three miles per hour, twelve hours per day, aiming due west for a land they had not seen but only heard of, a land that would be their salvation or would be their ruination.

The west was vast. Leaving the Mississippi River they were immediately struck with the notion of endless, god-forsaken vistas seemingly barren of the trees they had always known. Weeks would pass with the same flat, unforgiving view, the prairie grasses swaying in the constant wind, the dust swirling around them and always the concern that tomorrow may be their last day on this planet.

Time was always a factor. They had to reach the Rockies by late August to beat the first snows, for a Prairie Schooner sails not at all in five-foot drifts at ten thousand feet.

Farmers and businessmen, housewives and innkeepers, pushing forward….always forward….haunted and haunting.

Our ancestors
Our ancestors | Source

THE PLAYERS IN OUR DRAMA

Who were these people who left their farms and city jobs to tackle the great unknown? What made them wake up one day and decide to enter a territory few men had seen? What possessed them to chuck it all and set figurative sail for a land described by some as Shangrila and by others as Hell?

In truth they were our ancestors. Through their veins flowed the same blood that flows through ours. They were one or two generations removed from the villages of England and the farms of France, and they carried names like O’Toole, McGregor, Johnson and Heinz. They were Americans, bastardized citizens of a bastardized nation, following a silent call just as their ancestors had done before them.

It has always been so for the inhabitants of this country. Always the desire to see distant lands…always the willingness to stretch the limits and face the unknown….and always the determination to face obstacles and not back down….their blood is in us now, pumping and flowing, a living legacy of courage, willpower and a refusal to concede defeat.

From the first pilgrims to step foot on our shorelines, to the trappers and mountain men and onward to the celestial bodies, one giant leap for mankind, they were always moving to the next challenge, the next vista, the next appointment with destiny.

Those were our ancestors and that was the torch passed on to us, the citizens of the 21st Century.

What, then, shall we do with that torch?

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

I was fortunate as a child to live next door to Sam and Delores Conrad, two people who befriended a shy child and invited him into their home many times for cookies and tales of long ago. Sam and Delores both came to the state of Washington via the Oregon Trail as children. They told me of losing relatives on that soul-busting journey, of trailside funerals and tear stains in the dust. They told me of a sense of community on the trail, how every wagon group and every person understood that the survival of all depended on the survival of each member, that the weakest were helped so that the strongest could continue.

They told me of wagons breaking down and of strangers helping with the repairs. They told me of food supplies running short and of Iowa farmers helping Pennsylvania bankers in search of new food in that strange, frightening wilderness. They told me that the celebration of one was a celebration for all, and the loss of one was a reason for mourning by all. All wagon trains were linked by an invisible bond, as surely as if the members of each train had shared the same DNA….they were all family, and by God family looked out for each other.

What a strange and beautiful concept!

A great student video about the Oregon Trail

SO WHAT’S THE POINT?

I think there are several lessons to be learned.

Where has that sense of adventure gone in today’s society? Where has that sense of community gone, and where has that sense of exploration gone? When did we become an ego-driven society rather than a community-driven society?

We were once risk-takers. We were once willing to boldly go forth in search of new quests rather than shrinking behind our protected walls. We once understood the value of compassion and empathy for others, and we once believed, as a society, that united we stand and divided we fall.

Where has it all gone?

Of course times have changed and of course the world is not the same, but basic principles never change. Somehow, between the time our ancestors left St. Joseph, Missouri, and the time we woke up this morning, we….our society…lost its way. One moment we were following a clearly-defined path of wagon wheels left by our ancestors, and the next those same wheel tracks were paved over and plowed under in the name of progress, greed and self-interest.

Is it as simple as greed, or is there some other element at play here? Are we now motivated and yes, paralyzed, by fear? Are we afraid to leave our comfort zone? Are we afraid to trust others and are we afraid to show our compassion lest we pay a dear price?

Switch gears for a moment.

Have you ever looked out on a flock of sheep? They are such docile creatures; eager to please and reticent to break away from the safe confines of the group. They have a herd instinct, and they sway to the movements of the herd as seaweed sways to the ocean current. As long as they are provided food and their basic needs are met then they are quite satisfied. Of course, they are painfully unaware that there are those out there who covet mutton, and each summer they appear surprised that their handlers want to strip them of their wool, but all in all they are satisfied with their lot in life. For sheep, ignorance truly is bliss.

I am beginning to think that for Americans, ignorance is bliss as well, for if we flaunt our ignorance then complacency can be justified.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

Here’s an idea: how about you and me breaking away from the flock? What say you and I jump that damn fence that has been holding us back for so very long, and what say we sprint into the open countryside looking for those wagon ruts of old?

I know….it’s scary out there! We won’t have the herd for protection, and we might have to start thinking for ourselves and providing for ourselves rather than our handlers doing it for us, but think about the unbridled joy of having open land and unlimited possibilities before us….wouldn’t that be breathtaking?

Instead of living a life of assimilation, how about living one of dissimilation? Instead of being told by Big Brother what is good for us, how about we start thinking for ourselves and telling Big Brother to find another sucker? Instead of being led around by the nose by corporations and Madison Avenue, how about we think of the common good?

I have a dream. I know, I know, poorly-disguised images of Martin Luther King Jr. waft across the screen, but bear with me a moment.

I dream that one day communities will identify serious problems and take care of them as a community rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

I dream that one day all citizens of this nation realize that we cannot survive as a nation as long as so many of our brothers and sisters are suffering.

I dream that one day a man will be judged by their actions rather than their false promises, and I dream that one day Americans will one day be represented by leaders who believe in the Constitution rather than the mission statement of special interest groups with bottomless bank accounts.

And my biggest dream I save for last; I dream that one day we remember where we came from, and we once again tap into the lifeblood of our ancestors, people who understood the value of hard work, fairness and strength of character.

Look over yonder….just past the fence….can you see them? Can you see the wagon tracks? Follow them with me, and together we will figuratively head west and rebuild that which should never have been destroyed.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Ps……I invite you to join us at Humanity One World. You can find us on Facebook here.

Humanity One World
Humanity One World | Source

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, God bless the black sheep of the world....we need more of them and not less. Keep following your own path my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      What happened to the pioneers of olde? Nothing. It's their descendants who got comfortable within their own spheres and see no reason to pull together. They're safe now so they don't need anyone else.

      Safe is all well and good, but it is deathly dull...and stifling...and mind-numbing. I have no problem being the black sheep that wandered off to find her own way. I've met others like me who understand the importance of pulling together without crushing the individual.

      It looks like it will have to be the black sheep who bring community values back to the flock.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lurana...the flock mentality. When did it begin and how will it ever end. I agree with what you have said, and I keep hoping we will see the light one day soon. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Moving and educational tribute to this fascinating piece of American history. What a special opportunity you had to meet people who had actually lived this journey!!! Excellent dreaming and inspiration at the end too. We need to break out of the flock mentality to rise above the status quo; life can be so much better if we work for what matters. ~Lurana

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I totally agree with you. Technology and consumerism have made it so most people have it far too easy...the thought of this kind of sacrifice is beyond their comprehension.

      Thank you my friend; it is always nice to see you here.

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I think we all forget how easy we have it in some ways. I think that is one reason the work ethic is disappearing. I also think people are scared to jump that fence with you because they do have it so easy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, for sure not everyone is like that, and that in itself is interesting. Why are some people like you and me, and others could not fathom making a move for the sake of adventure? Interesting for sure.

      Thanks for your two cents my friend, worth much more. :)

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I'm sure that you knew that I would put my two cents in here. It is wanderlust, which has always flowed in my blood. I have never stayed in one place for very long, always willing to explore, to know, and to learn and share myself with others. Call me the new Johnny Appleseed, but I have built everywhere that I have gone and left something in its place. My memory lingers everywhere that I have been. But, not everyone is like that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, make no mistake about it my friend, I grew up in a great situation and I will forever be grateful for my upbringing. Talk about an ideal childhood....I lived it, buddy!

      Thank you as always...Hall of Fame? Something to shoot for. :)

      Aloha and stay dry!

      bill

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Bill, so many have written such wonderful and well-deserved comments. I just want to touch on those kind neighbors who invited the shy kid in and offered him cookies and heartwarming tales of days long gone. Little did they know the investment of love, inspiration, and idealism they were making in the life of a future Hall of Fame Writer. Now here you are, a present day writer and social activist who pays tribute to the Conrads, thus bringing their love and compassion full circle.

      I could not think of a better example to underscore the value of community.

      Lots of sunshine aloha on an otherwise wet and overcast day!

      Joe

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, you stated it perfectly. Thank you my friend and I hope all is well in your corner of the world.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, Vellur. There are important lessons to learn from our ancestors if we are willing to listen.

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for the history lesson Bill. So true that reflecting on the past and the values and lessons to be learned from there can let us understand what our goals should be and what we have to focus on to regain what has been lost. Passing this on.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      A great write and many valuable lessons to be learned, bravery, courage, a feeling of oneness and the eagerness to help people in need and so much more. A very valuable hub, voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathry, I was so young at the time that the significance of their stories didn't hit me. That's the beauty of reflection as you get older.

      As for all the writing I do...I pour my heart and soul into things I am passionate about. This is a labor of love my friend. Every day that I get to write is a blessing for me.

      Thank you for being you.

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      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      After reading this, I am still caught on the part about you (as a child) knowing a couple who walked the Oregon trail. That makes that period of time seem less distant than I always think of it as. It's amazing how far a country can go in a relatively short period of time. It must have been interesting hearing stories like that from those who experienced it.

      I yearn for much of the determination and sense of community that you do. Sometimes "progress" isn't as good as it may seem, because it pushes us away from each other.

      I like how you compare humans to sheep.

      Have a wonderful night, Bill. Rest your brain, so you will be fresh for another day. You amaze me by all of the writing you do.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Valley, I'm pretty sure your comment was as interesting as my hub. :) Great insights and ones I agree with completely.

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      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      I think the lack of adventure that you talk about here Bill, and the lack of community, is borne out of our consumerist society providing, very effectively, to our wants more than to our needs. I think our minds have become a little confused as to which is which. Successful advertising convinces us that we 'need' something, rather than want it, and that something, in most cases, serves an individual want rather than an individual or collective need. I believe too much dependance upon consumer goods to satisfy wants heightens the belief that the stuff we want is stuff we need. The result being, I consider, is that we don't think we need our community, each other, and the adventures life offers, to the extent that we actually do....thanks Bill, this was an interesting read :-))

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you vkwok...if I go west any further I'll be in your backyard. :)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      A great hub of an inspirational past culture of a historical time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Mary! I'll see you on the other side my friend. :)

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Not just a dream Bill, but the will to live it! How many of us are afraid to jump the fence? You are so right, the time has come, if you can't jump the fence climb over it, but at least get over the damn fence!! As always, brilliant!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, it is hard not to be gloom and doom right now. I hold out hope but it's hanging by a sliver.

      Thank you for your kind words my friend. I aim to please. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, I don't have the answer to your last question, but obviously there are millions that do. Must be some darn fine drugs my friend. :)

      Thank you for your kind words.....I wish I had more time to do more of these...this is where my heart is as a writer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, high praise indeed and I am honored by it. Thank you! I was hoping the metaphor about the sheep would wake up a few people. It is very true and that is frightening my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I have always wished that those were my times as well.....still, we seek adventure even now, and take risks, and forge new paths......and bravo to you for doing so.

      Hugs and blessings to you this fine morning,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lady, amazingly most of them walked. There wasn't enough room in the wagon for them to ride....now how incredible is that?

      Yes indeed, when disaster strikes we see the best of our country. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, it was the best of history lessons. I wish I had been older to fully appreciate what I was listening to.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We do carry on, Mark; I see no other choice. Thank you buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Insightful, it is always a pleasure my friend. Thank you!

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      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      This Hub is just another example of the wonderful writer you are and why you have my admiration. I tend to be pessimistic about the world now. I have seen too many changes all for the BAD. My heart goes out to the young people of today who are going to have to live in this world. I'm glad in a way I won't be around to witness. People have forgotten the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments.

      Yep, I'm all gloom and doom about our world right now!

      Voted UP and shared all around.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      Bill, have i told you lately how absolutely brilliant you are, cause - you are! What BALLS! What GUTS! What HEART! 36 miles - a DAY - not knowing what was ahead - but - moving forward at all costs - including life!

      You're absolutely correct - the sheeple of today would prefer to bury their heads and stay huddled than to see what's going on around them! We've collectively lost our balls - and i for one - refuse to say BAHHHH!

      as clearly - you refuse to as well!

      It takes guts to break away from the herd, but - how does one sleep soundly if they do not?

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      I too am a fan of History and why we are where we are today. What led our ancestors to move to where we now reside? Are we failing them by not continuing that move to someplace better, warmer, more prone to success than where we currently reside? I hate to think that my be all end all location to live is here! It's strange to follow one's roots backward in time, seeing how long they resided in one location before leaving for greener pastures. Seems like my family has spent the longest time in one place beginning with my Grandparents and ending with mine. Maybe it's time to jump that dadgum fence and clear out.

      I love your metaphor here, this "status quo" of our society. We ARE a herd of sheep, being lorded over by not shepherds but wolves, picking both our freedoms and ourselves off one at a time, as they become hungry for more. If we fail to act decisively and soon, we will have a fence that is too high to jump, and too set into the ground to go under. We will truly be trapped.

      Great hub Bill. But that is what I have come to expect from you: thought provoking, incisive, detail oriented, and most of all informative. Thank you again, Sir William.. Have a great day.

      Mike

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      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great read, Billy. This will sound a bit crazy but I have always wished I had been one of the pioneers who traversed our country looking for that next great adventure. And I have broken from the flock (for me, it is,) by writing here on HubPages. I am really a VERY private person. But writing on this site has caused me to throw caution to the wind, if you will, and delve into new areas.

      There are many other ways that I can expand my sense of adventure even more. Thanks for spurring me on....

      You are such a gift....the pioneering spirit clearly runs through your veins... Angels are on the way this morning ps

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      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      You are right on target with this hub. Those individuals who followed the Oregon Trail were innovative, risk takers, and dreamers. For the life of me, I don't understand how men, women and children rode for hours and hours in a cramped covered wagon in all kinds of weather and other mishaps. They were certainly brave and determined. I agree that we are not as community minded as we used to be, nor are we as neighborly. Yet, when disaster strikes, we all pull together as a country to help each other out.

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      A great history lesson for all to learn from in regards to risk taking and problem solving. I would have enjoyed hearing Dam and Dolores share their tales.

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      More than once, I have talked of these very Ideals to the kids of this generation. And many of my own generation as well. Many, fail to hear, but if we carry on a few will.

      Mark

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      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      Very nice hub about the Oregon Trail. That's cool that you got to hear stories from people that actually went through it. Thank you for sharing Brother mentor. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, getting on that ship would require a leap in faith if you ask me.....I could do the Oregon Trail but not sure about those old sailing schooners.

      Thanks as always my friend.

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      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. What a great story. How quickly we forget how we got where we are today. For my ancestors it was getting on a ship and crossing the Atlantic in the hope of a better life. No different than the early settlers heading west on the Oregon Trail in hope of a better life. Times sure have changed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela...it was incredible hearing firsthand from someone who had actually traveled on the trail....and oh how times have changed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I have wondered often if maybe my memory isn't very good...maybe the old days were not as wonderful as I think they were.....but I am positive that they were, and I'm positive that principles meant something back then, unlike today.

      So I'm going to keep on writing about it and see if I can't remind people enough to actually force a change.

      Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I am a dreamer and I'm not the only one. :) And you know what? I'm going to keep right on dreaming. There isn't an ounce of give up in me.

      Thank you dear lady! Have a great week ahead.

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      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      The comparison between those that made it through the Oregaon trail and our general complacency is very clever and so true. You were fortunate to hear all the old true. stories. This hub certainly were inspriring for us to step our and do more in our community. Awesome hub.

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      It just seems to me that this old world is slightly off balance nowadays. Not by much, but enough to put everything out of whack. What was it about the 50's that made things so simple and easy? Home, Friends, Family & Community were at the center of things. I agree with you Billy; we've been distracted big time, and need to return to our center. Voted Way Up, and bravo my friend ;) Pearl

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Adversity, cuts through all the pretense, it shows us as we really are, the good, the bad and the ugly.

      Your ancestors was certainly made of stern stuff; they were resolute, driven and determined, traits that are still there. Those inherited traits may remain dormant in times of plenty; however, in time of hardship I'm sure it goes into survival mode. I'd love to think that one day we will see the light; do unto others as we would have them do unto us, the strong helps the weak and we're all responsible for the welfare of our community. Billy some may say you're a dreamer....Keep it alive.

      My very best to you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Greg, thank you very much. Such words of praise are hard for me to accept....I always think I could have done better. I greatly appreciate your words my friend.

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      Greg Boudonck 4 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

      Hurrah--that was a great read Bill! I was caught in a dream while reading it. Dreaming of pulling a cow from a mudpit, of walking through snow covered mountains. Yes, a dream of finally entering the land of the West and hugging my dear wife, Maggie and then I awoke to realize I had just finished one of the greatest hubs I have ever read.

      Voted up all the way-Let's all break away!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maria. Every once in awhile the old teacher in me has to come out and teach a history lesson. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, I know for a fact I would have been on the Oregon Trail...it's in my blood and I suspect it is in yours as well. Thank you as always....you really are something else. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, there will be plenty of time to rest when I'm rich and famous. Until then, it's die hard today and on into the future. :) Thanks for the suggestions, though. I'll take it under advisement.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jim, I agree, we as a country are at our best when there is a catastrophe....I'm hoping we'll learn to be that way when things are normal. :) Thank you my friend.

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      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Wow... as I said in facebook this is really good stuff! Starting with: "following a silent call". This is the way history ought to be taught. I think this is one of the best hub you have written. The words you used, the experienced described and the passion wrapped in the words. Thanks for this deep lesson.

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      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You were so lucky to have known these people, I can only imagine what a thrill it was hearing their tales.

      What would it be like to have virgin land out there somewhere for the taking? I think many of us would try it. There are some Americans left but I do fear they are becoming fewer.

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      As always interesting and thought provoking...Die hard writer..now you can take a day off once in a while....

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Bill, that "wagon ruts" metaphor works so well to illustrate your point here. It is really heartening to see the people of Moore, Oklahoma working together so closely to pick up the rubble of their city after that disastrous tornado. I hope that if something of that nature struck the Northwest, that our neighbors would do the same. The spirit is still alive in us, in our country. It seems to get buried in the day to day struggle to get by. It seems to take a real jolt to wake us up and ignite the spirit of community that lies dormant for the most part.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Lizzy, now you have me depressed. Never???? :(

      I know what you are saying and I happen to be of the belief that the Industrial Revolution was the beginning of the end of community...it took awhile to happen, but that sense is rapidly disappearing.

      Thank you Dunedin friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Cat....if you are ever out this way...or I'm ever out your way....or we cross paths in Iowa....we'll make it happen. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I know you are right next to me my friend. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I hate complacency and apathy....if I can change it even a little bit then I will be pleased.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia....I kind of liked the sheep analogy as well. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, DJ, someone had to stay back east to send supplies to us out west. :)

      Thank you for the kind words my friend. You are always so affirming and supportive. I appreciate you greatly.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, powerful words my friend and I fear you are right...soft and selfish and complacent as all hell.

      When will it end?

      Thanks, Kindred! I'm a writing machine but I wanted to take a moment and wish you well and give you a big old hub.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      faythef, thank you for stopping by on this holiday...I hope you are enjoying your day.

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I can't believe you knew people who traveled the Oregon Trail! That's amazing. I say amazing too much. I think Gordon Ramsey infected my mind.

      I believe that community began to break down in our society at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and "dog-eat-dog world" mentality continues to set like cement. We can chip away at it, but we will never enjoy community and trust the way we once did.

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      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Billy, I'll jump over that fence and go wherever we need to! We might not get where we're trying to go, but I'm sure we'll get people to run with us and keep running after our time is up.

      You better bet your bottom dollar we're gonna sit and talk over coffee someday! You, my friend, are appreciated!

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      You speak the truth Bill and I hope all can hear. I'm with you in your vision.

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      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      The spirit of which you speak was with the pioneers, pathfinders and trailblazers, yes. It is also with us. Good to see that you are trying to re-awaken it. This is something that is much needed in this troubled world. Much strength to you.

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      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the amazing and inspiring story of the Oregon trail, Bill. There are definitely lessons there for us to learn. Your sheep analogy is great, too!

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      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      A great hub, Bill. My ancestors stayed east of the Mississippi River.

      But, still, I enjoyed your write about the camaraderie of those who

      forged ahead, looking for a better life.

      Every word that you write is true. I respect your efforts to rally the

      people of our great nation. It is time that we see ourselves as part of

      a greater whole.

      Bill, do not get discouraged. Sometimes, our job is simply to plant

      the seed. Time and circumstances may be the elements needed before the seed will grow.

      Your time and efforts are greatly appreciated.

      Thank you,

      DJ.

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      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      If you're headed west Kindred, I hope you can swim. lol

      Seriously, this is a wonderful piece of inspiration. All that we enjoy now was built on the backs of risk-takers. When I hear women complain about having so much laundry, I often think of those women who walked behind those wagons in the dust. I wonder how many of us could wash our clothes in a creek these days and actually get them clean. I wonder if we are even capable of dressing wounds without a Walgreens down the street. And then, I think of the men I know and I wonder how many of them could forge a new axle for a broken one. We have gotten soft and selfish but the most disconcerting of all is that we don't even seem to care.

      I love this reminder of where we have come from Bill. Sending you hugs and wishes for a blessed day.

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      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed this hub...I think we all , for the most part anyway, have that same dream.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Walter, you are a funny man. The hook my friend...the first ten seconds....it is crucial to writing. Welcome to my world. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheri, if you don't write that book I will. LOL What an incredible story of an incredible woman....you have to write that book, Sheri!!!!!!!!

      Thanks as always my friend.

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      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Billybuc, that description in the first section of your hub appears so vivid, it sounds as if you were one of the pilgrims moving west. And I got hooked by the nose until I saw it was an advertisement for the Facebook Group, Humanity One World. What a bummer, LOL. Now I remember... that's time-travel, using the armchair technique that you taught us how to write, LOL.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, take my hand and jump over that fence with me. We have work to do my friend....and time is getting short. :)

      You are appreciated my friend. Hopefully some day we can sit over coffee as old friends do, and pick each other's brains....wouldn't that be wonderful? :)

      bill

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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      We truly do come from tough folks. My Great Grandmother came out west in a wagon, buried three husbands, raised five kids by selling pies from her wagon, for a time lived in a hut built into a hill with dirt floors in the Peace country where winters are long and harsh and they burned buffaloo and cow dung for heat. My Grandmotther who is about to turn 100 raised four kids on her own, put herself through university at age 50 and became the head nurse in all of BC. I think there is a book in here! Thanks for the reminder of where we came from....today...no whining for me! Your talent for prose is shining through with this one Bill.

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      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Billy,

      This is great, as always, you have a way of making people want to get up out of their seats and do something... jump a fence in this case! We live in a society of many witnesses and bystanders but fewer participants. Even if the trail is long and sometimes dangerous; isn't it more fulfilling to live with a purpose and reaching for something rather than sitting next to the trail, watching others pass by, along with the days of our lives? Awesome Billy, always inspiring!

      Cat

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, Happy Memorial Day to you. I am spending it writing of course. Customers do not understand about holidays. LOL

      As for this hub.....I'm sure there were a few takers and lazies on the Trail, but I'm also sure they were "talked" to by many. When one falls they all fall....that's a lesson that, on the Trail, meant life or death.

      Gotta run....have a great day my friend and thank you as always.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Wayne! Love that quote by Tolkien....so very true.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Abby, I love your attitude and I'm going to love becoming friends with you. I often say ....never underestimate the power of a small group of determined people. .....we can change things in this world but we must be willing to be the instruments of change. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith and thank you for working on a H.O.W. hub....you are appreciated more than you know.

      blessings always,

      bill

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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Very inspiration look into history, Bill. And it's always great to be encouraged to step over the boundaries and experience a little adventure.

      'Not all that wander are lost' -J.R.R Tolkien

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Bill, another interesting "food for thought" hub.

      This Westward migration is an interesting story to say the least. These were brave and hardy souls who made this trip, many losing their lives in the process.

      The only reason they made this is because they pulled together and helped one another. The raw courage it took to leave everything behind and head off into uncharted territory is beyond my imagination.

      I've sometimes wondered how they handled those few who refused to pull their own weight on the trail? Those who were just takers along for the ride? People being people, there had to be at least a few of them.

      To think about the farmers who cleared entire fields with nothing but their bare hands, a saw and axe, and mules to pull the stumps is hard to imagine.

      Your correct, we have lost our way and most likely will not find it again. We have created policies and laws that work against ever knowing the community spirit these travelers accepted as a way of life. Most of us today could not survive a trip like this because we have had it way to easy and don't have the right mental attitude.

      History is a great tool for us to look at.

      I sincerely hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day.

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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Absolutely beautiful, Bill! I have been telling my husband that the world has changed even in the last 10 years. I can still remember be a kid, a teen, a young adult, and even in my 30s where people still had a passion for life and compassion for the world. What happened? Your dream is a big one, and it is a great one. It is my dream as well. It only takes one person to start a revolution. With you, me, and a few others... we can wave the banner of love. It doesn't take much to start the domino effect. Thank you for this beautiful hub. XXX

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      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Bill,

      Thanks for taking us back in history to our roots and reminding us about community. We should come together in unity for the good of all mankind. We can learn much from our ancestors!

      I am working on another hub for the H.O.W., and will let you know when it is ready.

      Peace and blessings, Faith Reaper

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE....I have always been amazed by the acts of our ancestors....the hardships they overcame....there are lessons to be learned there.

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Amazing how you accomplished such a useful, interesting and most informative hub, with such great skill and knowledge anything is possible. Voted up!