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On the Importance of Being Almy

by Robert "Bert" Almy (1233-3252-3113)

If you have never attended one of the Almy Family Reunions, you have ahead of you one of the most satisfying experiences for an adult.

The Almy Family Reunion held in Durango, Colorado from September 21-23, 2001 was attended by 12 members of the Almy family from Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, and New York. The attendance was down from the usual 40 to 60 persons who attend when it is held in Massachusetts.

Those who came were treated to the hospitality of Hope Almy Hamilton (1235-4131-1213), who lives in Colorado. She took us to three of the outstanding restaurants in Durango: the Palace Restaurant next to the train station, Henry's in the Strater Hotel, and the Seasons Restaurant. The high quality of the food was matched by the high quality of the conversation as we began our discovery process about our values, our lives, our children, and the parts of the country we came from.

After dinner on Saturday night, we were treated to the captivating storytelling of Louise Almy (1407-1C74-31W) from Huntington Beach, California. We sat spellbound as Louise told us stories that touched our hearts; I still can picture in my minds eye the two horses drawing the wagon down the road and then suddenly coming to a halt at the bridge. Perhaps Louise will bless us again at the next family reunion, so you can hear the rest of this story.

We also took the trip on the Durango & Silverton railroad with a steam engine from the nineteenth century pulling us on narrow gauge tracks next to the Animas River. It is real wilderness country we passed through for 45 miles. We saw three deer, raw wilderness, canyons too steep to climb down, and we lost count of all the good trout fishing spots. The train stopped once to pick up some backpackers who wanted to come home for a shower and a fresh pair of socks.

As the train chugged along about 15 miles per hour, we were stunned by the breathtaking beauty of the yellow and gold aspens against the backdrop of the huge mountains carpeted with a forest of tall pine trees. In Silverton, we spent time in the museum, which formerly was the city jail upstairs and living quarters for the sheriff and his wife downstairs. Our picnic at the park down the street was our chance to thank God for the many blessings he had bestowed upon us, not the least of which was the picnic lunch of wine and sandwiches with a view of the huge mountains drenched with yellow-gold aspens and tall green pine trees. In addition, you could see many of the old mine sites up on the sides of the mountains, the quaint nineteenth century buildings, and hear the babblings of the Animas River just 10 yards away. With 14,000-foot mountain peaks surrounding us, we experienced a bit of God's country that we will never forget.

This was my first Almy Family Reunion. For 92 years my family has lived in New Mexico without much contact with the Almy family, except for Merwin's wonderful newsletters to the Almy family, a visit from Merwin and Veda to my parent's house in Carlsbad, New Mexico around 1975, and the wonderful newsy letters written to us by Eleanor Almy, wife of my grandfather's brother, Edmund Darrow Almy (1233-3252-32) who lived in Annapolis, Maryland. My wife, Sharon, and I were thrilled to meet all of our cousins from across the country. Sharon pointed out to me the Almys were kind, giving, friendly people characterized further with having wonderful sense of humors, and, of course, gifts for conversation.

I purchased from Merwin Almy (1408-3312-112), our newsletter editor, a CD-ROM that contains all the research he has completed on approximately 3,000 Almys. From this information, I was able to correct an error in our family lineage in my family history notes. Merwin sells the CD-ROM for $50; it is the best $50 I have ever spent because of the wealth of information contained on this silvery platter.

In addition, we discovered that education and our Christian heritage characterize the Almy family. There have been many university graduates and professors in the Almy family in Nebraska and in New England. This also has been true in our family in New Mexico where we now have five generations of Almy women with college degrees. The first was Mary Emma Darrow Almy, who received her degree in religious studies from Alfred University in New York in the spring of 1878, and then was married by the president of Alfred University to Adrian Adelbert Almy (1233-3252-3) on July 3, 1878. Adrian also graduated from Alfred University at the same time.

Our Christian heritage and productive lives is evident in the Almy family newsletters as well as in Durango. In conversations around the dinner table, we talked about the Christian activities as well as the productive lives of our children according to the talents given to them by God. Around the table we beamed and bragged about the lives of our children.

I discovered something very important at the Almy family reunion in Durango. Yes, there were 12 adults having the best time of their lives getting to know their cousins. In addition, those same 12 adults discovered that for 400 years, we have left a legacy of good Christian people leading productive lives raising children who were good Christian people leading productive lives. And that, my cousins, is very satisfying for all of us. Let's all thank God for that wonderful blessing on the Almy family for 400 years.

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