Heart Tug

There are always little stacks of paper notes to sort through – on my desk, in my planner, everywhere. Today I was sorting a small stack that had been tucked in the main pocket of my planner, which meant they held some serious importance to me for one reason or another. A folded piece of torn printer paper had written at the top: I want to:

Old wish list found
Yes, I draw on all my papers, don’t you?
So what followed was a list of goals from some time in the past and I quickly determined that it was at least 9 or 10 years old because number 8 was “Go sailing somewhere fun” and number 9 brought tears. 9: Fun road trip with Dave. The word fun was underlined, so I think the list might be from his last year when our trips were mostly to the ER. We had two exhausting trips in that time period also – when his Mother passed away in Colorado, we made the trip from Arkansas to Colorado and then to Iowa and he made it through the burial and then spent the next 10 days in the Iowa City Hospital. About a year later, we made a 10 days journey to IL/IA and saw as many kids/grandkids/baseball games/Father’s Day cards/birthday dinners/lunches with friends as we could manage. So writing “fun” road trip with Dave was probably a message of hope to the Universe during a trying time.

Some other highlights from the list – to leave on a positive note:
Paint – the dining room AND a painting or two
Write – I still think about that Great American novel, don’t you?
Family Reunion – We did manage that a few times after this note was written – I’m always ready to do it again.

Pretty generic, right? I think I will fold this back up again and drop it in the memento box.

Family Reunions and Shared DNA

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Three summers ago, a first cousin and I decided that a “cousins reunion” was in order. We gather the first full weekend in August in a tiny farm community in Illinois. The visiting gets better every year as we each start looking forward to seeing our extended family. The food is pretty good, too!

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwich

We start with a crockpot full of pulled pork cooked for us by a local meat locker merchant. This year we added a good-size mountain of fried chicken, too. Then everyone brings something to share and even though we have fly-in guests and long distance driving for some, we end up with a nice variety of sides. The local small grocery is a great resource for prepared salads and good vegetables.

This year, the topic of DNA testing came up because one cousin had done two or three different ones and compared the results. It was pretty fascinating to find that we might not be as German as we thought, for one.

Our grandparents had proudly displayed a small plaque that said something about being Pennsylvania Dutch, which as adults we finally understood to be German. Those war years changed a lot of family lore I think.

I left the reunion determined to log in at Ancestry.com and order a kit, even though I knew it was pricey. The last time I looked it was $100+ with shipping, etc. But I really really wanted that snapshot of who I am.

As sometimes happens, the Universe was playing along and a friend posted a coupon to Ancestry.com the same week that I returned from the reunion. It wasn’t a tough decision at all to click and order.

All the information involved in ordering says that it could take weeks, but I had the kit in hand within a few days. Once I managed to get enough saliva in the bottle and send it back, the results were in my account within a couple of weeks.

I wasn’t surprised by the results since my cousin had shared his, but what did strike me was how I really wasn’t “a little bit of everything” as I thought. It seems that my history is pretty much centered in NW Europe and then NE colonies, US. That was a surprise.