According to Merriam Webster, the operative definition of the word “legacy” is, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” I was struck by this meaning of the term as I stood to give a toast at our family Thanksgiving celebration.I looked down the table, which for the first time in my 70 plus year lifetime extended the entire length of the room, to see nearly 30 members of our family plus friends spanning 3 generations.
My parents, gone now for nearly a dozen years, were very much there in spirit as it was the house they built/remodeled when they bought the ranch 70 years ago. I remembered well the many Thanksgivings that we had celebrated with them over the years. I was unfortunately reduced to tears by those memories and was unable to complete what I intended to be an inspirational toast!
That’s when it really came home to me that legacies are really created by people and passed on to other people. Land and houses often serve as the vehicle in which they are carried and celebrated. It made me realize that the term “legacy ranch” might well be a misnomer because the legacy is really created and passed on by the people who lived there.
When I stood to make the toast I was overwhelmed by the memories of my parents and my siblings and the many Thanksgivings we had shared over the years. It seems to me that we need to think carefully before so loosely using the term “legacy ranch” to describe a property. Perhaps we simply need to consider more carefully what the legacy of the ranch is or perhaps we should recognize that every ranch has a legacy and that legacy relates to the people who have lived there.