Some years ago I went down the rabbit hole of researching my genealogy. Lest you believe I had a more noble cause, please know I was searching for an ancestor who could land me on the Indian Dawes rolls. I was looking for gold. What I found instead was a slew of suspect relatives. One last will and testament had my ancestor bequeathing a pot and a kettle TO TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE! Another obituary led with, “[He was] known as a drunkard…”. I mean—where’s that one guy everybody digs up in their research that you can brag on?
My sister, Marsha, had high tea once in Scotland and came home convinced she was descended of British royalty and I believed her. You would have, too—she was like Joan of Arc, so deep was her conviction. So it will surprise no one to know that I was very disappointed in finding Kettle Guy from the 1800’s and The Drunkard from the 1700’s. Hell, those two were at the last family get together.
Fast forward to present day with me stuck in quarantine with The Husband who has just learned he’s descended from Charlemagne, Grand-Papi, as he’s taken to calling him. You’d be surprised how often a man can work into every day conversation a comment about his great-times-infinity-grandpa being Charlemagne.
The other night six of us were chatting in a friend’s yard around their fire pit when the subject of Charlemagne came up (Huh? Who can figure?) There was also another man present who was descended from Charlemagne. Oh, the laughter, oh, the banter about their future “family reunions”. My eyes darkened and narrowed. I couldn’t very well insert my story of Cousin Kettle.
I got up at 3am today because I was jolted out of sleep remembering the salad I bought last week that’s about to go bad. (Pipe it.) That and I also had the theme song from Soul Train running in my head. The lyrics: “People all over the world, join hands…”. It occurred to me that these words were originally meant to invoke peace yet now that the people of the world are germ smuggling bandits, those words conjur doom.
I lay there for an hour or so until I feel The Husband twitch which prompts me to unload upon him my Hypothesis of Soul Train. People of the world joining hands is “an army of disease spreaders!” I proclaim. He snaps awake and begins, “You know who had an army? Grand-Papi…”
Please share with me your own story of alcoholics or aristocrats, I’m just looking for a distraction before Grand-Papi’s grandkid bites it.
And I need to end with this. In writing this blog, I texted Marsha to ask where she was when she learned she was royalty (England, Scotland, Ireland?). Her conviction has diminished not at all: