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This book explores five generations of the Barnes family, concentrating on the author's father, Carl F. Barnes, whose nickname was "Carefree"-derived from the fact that for many years he went on drinking sprees that were sometimes frightening and sometimes humorous (at least in hindsight). Who else could show up with a rowboat in the driveway without any recollection of where, or why, he got it-and not have a lake to put it in? Carefree abused alcohol intermittently for thirty years, then suddenly (and unexpectedly) quit drinking for the last thirty years of his life. The author's mother's life is likewise examined: how she coped with Carefree's drinking and with the sorrow of the accidental death of her younger son. The author discusses his difficult relationship with his parents, especially his mother. For many years estranged from his sons, he explains how he and they made peace and became good friends through the efforts of their stepmother. Looking to the future, the author also includes his grandchildren. The story is told in word and picture, there being more than one hundred photos covering the span of a century. Is this an exceptional family? No, not in a political sense or social sense. It is family like many others, one that experienced laughs and tears, stresses and strains, triumphs and tragedies. The family motto was AD ASTRA PER ASPERA, "To the Stars through Hardship."