The Tie That Binds

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The General recently opted for the DNA test to determine family origin and ancestry. Of course, she knew that I was also doing that in conjunction to an invitation provided me by my niece and her daughter. I didn’t suggest that the General’s test was totally unnecessary on the outside hope that it might substantiate that she has enough Indian blood to qualify for benefits. She’s got the high cheekbones and I joking add: “She has been on the warpath a time or two”. Of course, most folks think she has the patience of Job and that she should be a candidate for canonization. I guess the two main obstacles with that rest in the fact that she’s not Catholic and she’s not deceased.

 

I haven’t gotten my DNA testing results back yet. When it comes to ancestry, I suspect I’m clearly Heinz 57. I’m really curious about what the testing will reflect. I don’t know a lot about the origin of the Forrester family other than we came from Alabama. Where we were before that is anyone’s guess, but several folks weigh in on thoughts and evidence.

 

Obviously there is variation associated to spelling. For example, my paternal great grandfather spelled it with one “R” and his wife spelled it with two. Subsequently, the family must have had difficultly sorting it out because my grandfather and one or two of his brothers varied on the number of “R”s that were needed. Others spell the name Forestier and Forrestor. Regardless of the spelling, the name is associated with the occupational name for “an officer in charge of the King’s forest” from the old French “forestier” and Medieval English “forester”.

 

 

I am equally uninformed related to the maternal side of my family. I do know that my maternal grandfather’s last name was DeMoss. That surname was first found in Burgundy (French: Bourogne), an administrative and historical region of east-central France where the family has held a family seat since ancient times.

 

Of course, my assessment of how the French bloodline has influenced the family tree is exclusively anecdotal. I can make the observation that my grandfather was short in stature as were the other men in the family who shared his surname. I’d be quick to add that Napoleon reportedly was also not very tall. Consequently, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that in and of itself, that represents enough evidence to support my French ancestry claim. Of course, in the New Testament there is the story about another man who was not tall in stature. His name was Zacchaeus. He was said to be a descendent of Abraham. That would make him Jewish. Consequently, there has to be more to substantiate the French connection.

 

However, if you ever tasted a cup of coffee at my grandfather’s home, you’d know irrefutably that they were way too sparse on water and way too generous with coffee. I’ve never seen a bent coffee spoon, but if stout coffee can bend metal, you’d be hard to find an unbent spoon in their silverware drawer.

 

Yesterday, my aunt Trula, along with eight of my cousins and their families gathered for our annual reunion. One of my cousin’s and her husband hosted the group in Nocona. Unfortunately, six cousins could not attend this year due to scheduling conflicts. For the last forty years we’ve given priority to gathering together as a family.

 

My mother was one of six children. Of that group, only my aunt Trula, her youngest sister, remains. I was startled yesterday when she said she is eighty-seven years-of-age. I had no idea that she was anywhere close to that age. Aunt Trula has done an amazing job of providing support and encouragement to all of her nieces and nephews.   In addition, I noticed during the course of the day, that cousin after cousin gravitated to talk with her. Her continued presence with us is a gift and we are ever so grateful. Her presence with us is also a tangible reminder of a generation now on the other side of eternity.

 

During the course of the day, we built new memories and we shared from a wonderful reservoir of memories regarding those who live on in our hearts. The joy associated with our having had the privilege of sharing life with them has not diminished with the passing of time. If anything, it simply makes the wonderful gift of memory more highly treasured.

 

When it comes to family history, I may be oblivious to all the details associated to our ethnicity and origin, but what I do know is that we represent a tie-that-binds. It cannot be broken. What are the odds of being a part of an extended family where there is genuine love and respect for everyone in the mix? No one is estranged from the family and everyone has an equal footing. There isn’t a special group of “insiders” and a second level of “outsiders”.

 

Everyone belongs and everyone is valued. You don’t often find that. Consequently, none of us take any of it for granted. The tie that bands has no relationship to the country or countries of our origin. The tie that binds is exclusively the handiwork of a God who loves us unconditionally and our awareness of the importance to reflect His likeness in our on-going relationships.

 

All My Best!

Don

 

 

 

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