All In the Family: Meet the Webster’s, Baines’, & Austin’s!

I have a family I’ve never met. It’s not because I would not like to but rather the distance that separates. All the same, they are family and here they are!

My wife and her family are from South Africa. Lesley carries a great family history and story that is filled with historical rich-ness that would awe any genealogical nut, such as myself. It is filled with folks from the 1820 Settlers and many from before that time. Lesley herself is 5th Generation Scottish and English on her fathers side and 3rd Generation Australian and Afrikaans on her mother’s.

One her mother’s side, the Baines arrived to South Africa from Australia; where there was met the no-doubt beautiful Norah Southey to whom would the title of great-grandmother would be bestowed.

Yet the beauty of the South African ladies drew tight and love of Capel and Joan as well- The parents to the ageless Barbara Jane (Baines) Nichol.


Jane Nichol

The Webster’s, as the Baines, have a rich and deep family history. Living and  fighting at the time of the Boar Wars, the Webster and Austin Forefathers led an all but non-eventful life. Even leaving a Villa at the foothills of the Zuurberg pass, called Ann’s Villa.

It was told on good account, that the tennis courts to the south were once favorite for Keith and Jane. While both today have gone their separate ways, a passion for life has not escaped them.

At the spry age of 74 Keith (Lesley’s father) is now motorcycling across the southern and eastern cape with a club of other ‘spry’ men and their wife’s.

But a great mention to Lesley’s Step Mother, Anita Hewson Webster. It has been with no few words that Lesley has spoken of the kindness, softness, and influence of “Momma Duck.”  as with her own children, she brooded over Lesley as if she were one of her own.


Anita “Duck” and Keith Wester

The heritage and legacy of the family is pasted along like a snowball down a hill. Some element picked up while other elements dropped off.

Again, of some note: It is with remarkable honor that this family of the Webster’s still has the matriarch Florence F. M. Austin still living in full energy of life at 98 years young.


Florence “Gran” and Kenneth Webster (Christmas 197?)

This is now is my family too. A rich wealth of heritage, packed with stories, wrought with trials, seasoned with victories, and spanning the globe.

You too have a family out there… go find them!

Special mention to the siblings of Lesley; Bruce and Janine, and the several Hewson Step-Brothers and their families!!!


Successful Inte…

Successful Intelligence – Robert J. Sternberg

 “Successfully Intelligent people defy negative expectations, even when these expectations arise from low scores on IQ or similar tests. They do not let other peoples assessments stop them from achieving their goals.  They find their path and then pursue it, realizing that there will be obstacles along the way and that surmounting these obstacles is part of their challenge.” (19) 

Four Years ago: “A Hellavu April Fools Joke”

“Welcome to Iraq, Sir! Make for the T-Walls and stand-by, the transports for you and your men are en route.” It was about 110 degrees  and fairly dusty that morning when we landed at Ali Air Base. Forty-eight hours earlier we had been in our second country of the day awaiting a lift into the theater.  Half of my company was left for a second chalk that would left about two hours later. We were greeted by our advance party–a sight for sore eyes.

The thoughts and preconceived ideas about what it was “really like,” started to fade fast. Was this it? Other countries weren’t like this; in or out of combat. l thought silently as the Assistant S4 started the CHU rooster assignments and my stand-in 1SG confirmed head count.

During our baggage move PFC [Smith] belted, “Hey Sir, this is one hellavu April Fool’s Joke!”

“Yeah, ya might be right! Texas might be just over that horizon…” I spouted with a half-cocked smile and maybe a bit of wishful thinking.

…it wasn’t.


Four years later, that day is a clear as it ever was. Many days are like that for many folks. The months leading up to, and the year that followed, were the hardest years of most of our lives. War does change folks. You learn quickly that your enemy can take many forms and is illusive as water finding the quickest slope to the lowest point possible.

Yet, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…” Book of Isaiah

Remember those to who whom you knew not their name; for they fought and died as if they knew yours.

Hope your April Fools day was great… mine keep getting better!