Holiday Travels

I have just returned from the ancestral homeland in east Tennessee, where I visited with both my father's and mother's people. The Newfound Gap was open on the way over, and we stopped to have a snowball fight. However, the park service decided to close it before my return trip, which added a very substantial detour in the pouring rain. I was grateful to finally return home late last night.

Visiting family more-or-less annually over decades, you begin to think you notice patterns in lives that begin in the same place but show marked divergence. I think religious observance must be quite important to holding one's life together, as even the more annoyingly evangelical of my relatives have flourished markedly over the less-religious ones. The most intellectually sophisticated have not flourished, not even relatively speaking; but the ones who go to church do, for whatever reason or set of reasons. Education correlates with success only somewhat. Hard work does not; laziness is often rewarded by luck, or simply by the virtue of being happy with less. Although I should add that those who have pursued higher education and self-disciplined hard work to the greatest degree of success are also religiously observant, so perhaps I don't have a large enough set to tease out the details.

Perhaps you have similar observations, or divergent ones.

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