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)

If I Could Do Like That

When I was younger, much younger, my friends and I would watch a movie on television only to go outside and reenact it in the yard.  Whether we were cowboys and indians, soldiers fighting in a war or out on some space odyssey like Luke Skywalker or Buck Rogers. There was a time when wrestling was the biggest thing and we would watch it on television only to wound up making the living room or den the wrestling ring and hope we didn’t break nothing when our parents weren’t around. 

As we got older things didn’t change much.  We don’t tear the house apart wrestling, as a matter of fact I haven’t watched wrestling in a long time and it’s not because of the myth that went around years ago that it was fake. Only now my son and I watch hunting shows and fishing shows, and the very thing we both say is that we wished we could kill a big buck like that, or a moose or an elk or whatever else they are hunting.  It kind of gives us an itch that can’t be scratched until we get out in the woods ourselves, early in the pre-dawn hours before the sun comes up and its cold outside.  We get in the woods and sit and wait. Watching and listening for any sound of the monster buck that we’ve seen on television the weekend before. 

Or what about the monster fish that is caught by those professional anglers? There are a few things on my bucket list and one of them is to be strapped in a chair with reel and rod to fight and haul in one of those monstrous sailfish or a massive blue marlin just once in my life. 

The very thing we say is, “Man, I would love to do that!” whether it’s in the woods or on the water most men I know would love to do that just once.  To have that picture of them standing next to that big fish or have that ‘wall-hanger’ trophy in the living room or den. 

It reminds me of the song “If I Could Be Like That” by the group 3 Doors Down.  ‘He spends his nights in California, watching the stars on the big screen, and he lies awakes and wonders, why can’t that be me.’    

And before you ladies jump the gun and think it’s all a man thing, think again.  Lately I’ve also had the privilege, courtesy of my wife, to watch the Food Network with her.  We would watch the food challenge and one of our favorites is the Cake Challenge and Cupcake Wars.  And she would say the same thing us guys would say to a hunting and fishing show, “I wish I could do like that”.

Television really does make it glamorous. We also watch DIY and HGTV and wished we could transform our houses and yards into what they do.  And to think they also make it all look so easy.  But sometime while watching these shows take a looks behind the person and see the tools and utensils they use to make everything from those backyards of paradise to those towering mountains of  sugar they call cakes. 

Then we go in the kitchen to have our scrambled eggs and toast and drink our coffee before going outside to cut the grass until it dies down in the fall.  Then go out in the woods hoping maybe we can at least kill a small buck or even a doe.  Well, now it’s back to reality so welcome back to the real world.

Deadliest Catch

A few years ago our son got my wife and I to watch a show with him on the Discovery Channel called the Deadliest Catch.  To say the least we were not too impressed to see that a word in every other sentence had to be bleeped out.  After watching that show we fully understood what it meant when someone said, “Cussed like a sailor”.

As unimpressed as we were to the language we were equally impressed by watching those fishermen work in the hardest working conditions known to man.  Fighting the cold Alaskan winter in the Bering Sea to catch their haul of Alaskan King Crab and Ophelia Crab.  To see Greenhorns, those that work on the fishing vessels for the first time, earn their rightful place on a boat.  Some would work out and be great workers while others would make the Skipper bleep out more bleeps than one would care to hear bleeped. Not to mention the few that dared to go to the wheelhouse to complain to the captain about one thing or another. 

Over the last few years we began to get to know the ones that were veterans on the boat that have been working hard for several years.  Same goes for the captains.  We even got to know a little about their families.  Those family members that worked together on the boats as a family business.  Eventually from season to season after seeing the same ones year after year we seemed to make a connection to those on the boats as though we were watching our own family members on a reality television show.

As with everything else on reality television shows each one of us did have our favorites. From our favorite captain to our favorite deckhand. Even though their biggest faults were still the language I could only imagine what those wheelhouse’s smelt like with those that were chain smokers.  But I’m sure they are under alot of stress while keeping a constant vigil on the unpredictable Bering Sea, the weather, the workers on deck and all the monitors right in front of them, all while piloting those massive boats.

One captain that we really liked was Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Maria.  He had two sons that worked as deckhands on the boat.  The younger son started out on the boat on the captain’s bad side by using dear old dad’s credit card to get himself a nice flat screen TV for his bunk while out to sea.  This past season he admitted to his dad he was addicted to drugs when his father caught him in his quarters taking his prescription medicine.  It was a really sad moment between father and son even while the camera kept rolling that he told him that when they got back to land he didn’t want to ever see him again. But just like any other loving father he thought about what he said and told his son  that he wanted him to go and get treatment and that he would go with him.  Captain Phil admitted that he had been there one time too and knew how it felt.

By the time the Cornelia Maria did make it back to dock there was a sudden, major turn of events.  Captain Phil was found by a deckhand in his room on the floor, apparently from a stroke.  To watch his two sons struggle with their own emotions, while people were praying, other skippers and captains all worried, Phil struggled to make a good recovery.  And that’s the way it seemed. He was doing better than expected. So much better he was sitting up in his bed and asking his youngest son for just one cigarette to which his son would not give him.

Then as the show ended word came that Phil had a sudden turn for the worst.  The last thing said was the oldest son saying, “We lost dad.” People we have never met or actually do not know we can’t help but feel for the family and friends. We watched them season after season.  They have become family to us.  This Tuesday night, July 20th, 2010 at 8pm CST on the Discovery Channel we will watch the final episode for Captain Phil Harris.  He really did love his kids and his kids loved him.  If you get a chance set your timer or tune in Tuesday night and watch this emotionally charged episode of The Deadliest Catch.