RUSSIAN, FOREIGN MEDDLING (Revisited and revised)

A few months ago I wrote about Russian and foreign meddling in our election and how it was going to be the same in the 2020 elections. It was basically a story about how my ancestors came from Europe and made their way to America and got to the place of where I’m at today. If you didn’t figure it out at least half way through you know that I was writing what I hoped would be a homorous short story of the lineage of life.

At Christmas, thanks to my son and his bride, one of my wishes came true. They had gotten me a DNA test kit to find out my real heritage. I was beyond overjoyed at this since I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I know some people think that all that DNA testing stuff is a conspiracy of the government to drive this world toward its one world agenda. If it’s going to happen, and it will eventually, there is nothing that is going to stop it from happening.

I decided that my birthday, December 31st, would be a perfect time to do the test and put it in the mail. They informed me that it could take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to get the test results back. Now I felt like a kid at Christmas. I got up early on my birthday and the first thing I did, per the instructions in the packet, was to get enough saliva to fill up the little tube and seal it up in the bag to mail back. I almost missed getting it in the mail that day. As I stepped out the door to take the prepaid package to the mailbox our mail carrier was already at my box putting my mail in. I had to holler at her and run to meet her so I could get my DNA test sent in. Thankfully she saw me and was gracious enough to wait for me to get to her.

When I did get my DNA test results back I, probably like many others who do their DNA test, was expecting some results and totally shocked at others. There wasn’t any Russian in my ancestry DNA, which really didn’t surprise me. I wasn’t really expecting to have any Russian in me. But what I did have was 75% England, Wales and Northwestern European. That would include Germany, France, Belgium and all. No surprise there. I also have 21% Ireland and Scotland. No surprise there either. My mother’s mother, my grandmother, was very proud of her Irish and Scottish background. She was very familiar with it as was we because she always reminded us on March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day, that our ancestors came from there.

What really surprised me though was the fact that 3% of my DNA was from Norway. A VIKING! Yes, a Northman. One of my most favorite shows on television is that show that comes on the History Channel, Viking. I should have known I had some connection to them. My wife and I talk about it all the time asking ourselves and each other if we had any Viking in us. Now I know it for a fact. I also know why my son and several of my nephews love to have them big scruffy beards. I’m thinking about growing me one if I can convince my loving bride that I would look cool with one. Since I’m a Viking and all you know. She still won’t let me (and yes, I’m whipped, but not for long. Wait until I tell you what else is in my lineage.)

I have always been very proud of my heritage. It was my upbringing. My parents and grandparents have taught us to be proud of where you come from. I know I’ve had family that fought on both sides of the Civil War and I’m very proud of all my heritage. Now that I know what my ancestry DNA looks like I’m even more proud than I was before. I’ve also got a lot more questions than I did before as well. If you added it all up you would see that I only talked about 99% of my DNA. Now the real shocker is the last 1%. When my wife and I looked at it together we were sitting at the table like I am now. She slammed her hand on the table and looked at me as I looked at her and all she could say was, “I knew it! I knew it!”

The 1% of genetic makeup that shocked my wife and I originated from the Cameroon, Congo and Southern Bantu People. So if you ever wonder what it would be like to cross a Viking with Tarzan you’re looking at him. So from this point forward I’m telling you for your own good you better not mess with me.  You wouldn’t want me to go all Viking/Tarzan on you would you?

Seriously, I am so much more curious now about my family history than ever before. I really want to know all about my heritage. There is nothing in the world about my family tree that I am not proud of. I’m sure there were a few I would cringe at but overall I am very, very happy and proud of my heritage and what my fathers and mothers went through so I can sit here today. I love each and everyone of them. I’ll be so proud to one day tell my grandchildren.

Now we proceed with the process of finding out who we are related to in history. My son is already finding a lot and he has just started.

Yep, that Viking in me is telling me I need to go and do my Polar Bear plunge again. Anybody up for one this weekend? Even if I’m not Russian, as a bona-fide foreigner I too again will be meddling in the next election.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward (Psalms 127:3 KJV)

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TATERS & FISH

The “itch” hit me a couple of months back when in the dead of winter we had a warm beautiful day.  Ever since then I had been wanting to go fishing.  Just like hunting I told my wife that I wanted to go fishing more this year.  I could count on one hand how many times I’ve been fishing in the last three to four years.  I went as far as getting all my reel and rods out and started cleaning them up and re-lining them.

I woke up early that Saturday morning.  Slight to no chance of rain, a beautiful warm day. The weather conditions were going to be perfect for a day outside.  Whether you got out riding a motorcycle, having a yard sale, going to a yard sale, doing yard work or going fishing. I chose to go fishing.  I got up, got dressed and then woke my wife and offered to take her out for breakfast.  Usually I cook breakfast on weekends and let her sleep in since she gets up during the weekday and fixes breakfast for me.  Most of the time I will wake up early and get up, fix myself a cup of coffee and watch the ‘Rifleman’ with Chuck Conners in the den.  Lately though I’ve started watching fishing shows.  You know, having the “itch” and all.

Anyway my wife got up and got dressed and we drove down to Luverne to have breakfast. Our place of choice is a little restaurant, or diner if you prefer, called ‘Taters’.  It used to be called ‘Matties’ but it was taken over by new owners.  I like the name ‘Taters’ better too. “Taters” or for anyone north of the Mason/Dixon Line that might be reading this, “potatoes” are by far my most favorite vegetable.  I love potatoes so much that I don’t even like calling it a vegetable because to me it seems like it’s an insult to it in some kind of way.  I prefer to call it the “other” meat.

We go into ‘Taters’ and as always, met with a welcoming smile.  Being a local they pretty much already know what you’re going to drink except my wife, it may be coffee, soda or tea.  It all depends on the mood she’s in for the day.  At each table or booth they always have an encouraging Bible verse on each napkin dispenser.  On the wall is words and quotes of faith, hope, love and family.  They always have gospel music playing on the radio.

We enjoy our meal and talk with other patrons, locals, as well as friends who may venture in.  Of course sometime it can get too loud in there as it gets crowded but that’s all part of the small town diner you’ll experience here in the south.

After about four cups of coffee and my wife’s one cup and a tea to go I’m still having my “itch”.  I can’t get to the water fast enough.  By the way did I mention that Tater’s has really good coffee?

When we get back home I start grabbing my reel and rods and all my fishing gear and throwing it into the truck.  My wife tells my son that we are going fishing and he’s talking and texting with his fiancé.  They decided they wanted to go fishing as well.  Great, we’ll make it a family affair and enjoy everyone’s company.

After a couple of stops to pick up some bait and other supplies as well as a soda we make our destination.  I am about to get my cure for my “itch”.  We get settled in and ready to fish and the first reel I pick up won’t cast.  That’s alright, there are four of us and I brought about nine reel and rods along.  The second one I cast out and it fell a few feet short, a few yards, okay it barely hit the water.  I reach down and pull on the line and it won’t move.  I take the cover off and look to see what was hanging the line and low and behold I realize of all the reels that I had prepared I had to pick up the one I forgot to re-line.  Situation taken care of now I am ready to catch me a string or cooler full of fish and have some fresh fish to eat.  Everyone is getting nibbles and bites and I’m going after the big ones.  I want to haul in that monster Bass, the kind you would be proud to hang on the wall and brag about in years to come.  I’m loving this moment in my life.  I’ve finally got a chance to go fishing, got my family and future family around me.  Those that I love the most enjoying the day with me.

Finally getting settled in for a second time and everyone and everything is nice and quiet. Looking out over the water I reflected back to times I’ve spent with my dad and older brothers and my son out fishing.  I finally come to the realization of where my dad would get his words of wisdom from.  Experience.

After about four hours of fishing and only one little bream fish caught, which I did not catch, we decided the fish weren’t biting enough but the mosquitos and the turtles were. We still enjoyed the day and each other’s company.

And just like my dad gave me, I now give you my words of wisdom to my son and anyone else that will listen: If you plan a fishing trip for the day don’t EVER drink four cups of coffee and a soda before going.

Have a great day and take a loved one fishing this spring and summer and if you’re ever in Luverne, Alabama stop in at “Taters” and have a bite.  You’ll be glad you did.

4th of July

Okay. Some folks have been asking where was the 4th of July holiday poem so here goes.

The 4th of July was upon us before we had a chance to think;
The year was already half way over it seemed like in a blink.
What special thing can we do this year to make the 4th complete?
We decided to do something differently, something really unique.

We got up early and made the coffee and ate some buttered toast;
“This is going to be a lot of fun today.” My wife began to boast.
We couldn’t hesitate to get started the waiting was almost a pain;
Nothing was going to stop us today not even sleet, snow or rain.

Quickly in the shower, get dressed and make the bed;
We were beside ourselves with excitement, “I can’t wait!” my wife said.
The food was in the fridge and a watermelon was getting cold;
The fireworks were going to be in the park that night so we were told.

“Are you ready?” I asked my wife as I stood by the door;
To make sure everything was off she ran through the house once more.
We both grabbed our cell phones in case anyone called;
We could tell them where we were at if we are needed at all.

We were on our way, we chatted and talked as we went;
This is going to be a lot of fun, it will be a day well spent.
Thanks to my wife’s quick fingers and thinking we made it with ease;
When we finally got there we both were very well pleased.

It was a very short trip as we quickly made our destination;
There were friends and family waiting for us in excited anticipation.
My wife and I sat quietly as we listened and looked;
This is the best 4th of July we’ve had thanks to Twitter and Facebook!

Independence Day

My fondest memory of celebrating Independence Day was when everyone gathered with friends and family and had a cookout, eat watermelon and pop our few firecrackers.  I don’t know about the rest of the country but being from the South it wasn’t always just hotdogs and hamburgers.  We would cook anything and everything we could think of on the grill; chicken, pork chops, sausage, ribs and I even remember a few times thick-sliced bologna being thrown on the grill.

As the years went by we got away from the traditional celebration with friends and family. Everyone stayed at their own homes, watch television and cooked out.  It wind up that I and many others would have to work on “The” most important date in our country’s history.  It seemed to me that the country as a whole was getting away from remembering what this day was all about.  It’s not only about our independence from foreign rule but also the ones that have fought for our freedom and those that are standing guard and fighting today. 

A few years back I felt a yearning for the good times. My wife and I made a cross state trip to spend the 4th with friends we call family to have a big cookout. That will wind up as one of the most memorable fourth’s for me.  This year we got to participate in a town’s parade. I enjoyed meeting people I didn’t know and some I haven’t seen in a while.  After the parade with all our new-found friends we shared hotdogs and watermelon and sat down and talked.  The thought came to me during this time that some others were beginning to think like me; that America is forgetting what the special holidays are really set aside for and concentrating on more of the here and now. Too many are more concerned with trying to get to their destination on time and basking in the sun on a beach or at a lake then actually spending quality time with their family and smiling at their American brothers and sisters on the way.

As American’s lets never forget the real meaning of this special day. Take a moment out of your busy schedule and give God above thanks for His glorious bounty of this great nation. And don’t forget to say a prayer for those that stand guard over us as we sleep.  “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” (Jeremiah 6:16) Everyone have a great 4th of July and let’s never forget.