family is story

What Does it Mean to be a Davis?

228238_6458951943_944_nRecently, I’ve taken on the task of exploring my family history by interviewing relatives.

Years ago, my family spent an afternoon filming my grandparents and the stories of their relationship. I’ve often thought about how valuable family stories are, so I didn’t want to wait too long before recording my father’s life story.

As he has recounted his life to me, I’ve started to think about what it means to be a Davis, and now, a Wilder.

I was a Davis for 40 years, and those Davis characteristics are deeply ingrained—with a bit of Dildy and Dortch thrown in. Now that I’m a Wilder, I’m excited to discover our unique family characteristics, values and ideals as Nathan and I grow together as a couple—a blend of both of us.

Over the last few days, I’ve let the question ruminate in my brain: What does it mean to be a Davis? Following are a few traits I recognize:

  • Hard-working – This is the first term that came to mind. When I think about the Davises, they always seemed to work every day of the week—minus the Sabbath, or Saturday. Having a family business and a large piece of land kept every member of the family filled to the gills with chores and upkeep. While having a lot to do and being busy doesn’t necessarily equate to “hard-working,” coupled with the attributes of doing a job well and right, giving one’s best, and redoing a job if necessary do sum it up.
  • Christian – Davises love the Lord and serve Him willingly. Not only was our family brought up in the church, we helped build the church, grow the church and pursued deep relationships with God and the community.
  • Quick-witted – The Davis family laughs a lot and shares joy easily. We’re sharp and clever with words and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
  • Nature-lover – My mother and father, with my maternal grandparents, moved to the country to raise me and my brothers. This unique habitat, minutes from downtown Atlanta, grounded the family in the beauty, complexities and order of God’s creation. Davises are bird watchers, horseback riders, gardeners, masters, hikers, swimmers, skiers, stewards and sightseers.
  • Southern – The South is home, it is the motherland. Its beauty and history, however ugly or beautiful or mangled or triumphant, is woven into the fabric of my family. We talk slow; we eat scrumptious foods; we love our neighbor; we like to feel the earth beneath our bare feet; we have manners; we like tractor pulls; we give; we drink sweet tea; we shoot guns; we say y’all; and we value family.
  • Musical – The Davises are talented singers and musicians. From grandfather Davis, affectionately called Pop “C,” who played violin, mandolin, accordion and some piano, to my father the tenor, to my brothers who played trumpet, trombone and French horn, to me the mezzo-soprano. Though my mother didn’t sing much in front of an audience, her voice was beautiful when she’d sing me to sleep or when we’d sing together in the school bus. Though we don’t exercise our musical gifts much these days, we remain avid listeners and concert-attendees.

After reading over this short list of what it means to be a member of the Davis clan, what attributes or traits would you say sum up your family? What does it mean to be a member of your family?

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