Every so often, someone makes profound and lasting impressions on one’s life and community. Such an individual was John Henry Alexander, my great-grandfather. I never knew him; he died before I was born. Even so, his presence, like a modest but charismatic actor in the wings, always seemed to hover nearby. This feeling was particularly strong when I visited my great-aunts in the Alma Street homestead, sitting in a great curved rocking chair, listening to the chiming of a wall clock, and breathing in the atmosphere of the old family home, while looking at a portrait of the tall, thin man.