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To the outside world we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each others hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets,
family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time.
[Clara Ortega]

c.1950 - [back row] Irene and Emerson Hoffman [front row] sons: Ray, Bobby and Melvin

c.1950 – [back row] Irene and Emerson Hoffman
[front row] sons: Ray, Bobby and Melvin

2013 - Melvin, Ray and Bobby Hoffman

2013 – Melvin, Ray and Bobby Hoffman

The 2013 snapshot of the three Hoffman lads came in the mail this morning and reminded me that I had the 1950 photo scanned into my computer. Ray, editor of The Heritage Eagle for the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation, had his 730 John Deere over near his hometown of Sabetha, Kansas for a tractor drive. This photo was taken at an ice cream social following the drive. I think that you can’t get any more Kansas than that.

I only know one of these gentleman, but even I can see the lad in each of them. Some things haven’t changed in the intervening sixty years—the tip of Melvin’s head, Bobby’s grin and the impish expression on Ray’s face (and maybe even his overalls—I think he just lengthened the straps). I’ll bet a three-volume family saga could be written about those sixty years.

There is something universal in family photos—even photos of folks we don’t know. I was struck by the great good fortune these three brothers enjoy by being able to stand shoulder to shoulder and grin all these years later.

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