Earlier in the year, I had my DNA analyzed by ancestry.com and received my results within a few weeks. It was so amazing to see all the areas of the world where my ancestry began, and how those early relatives scattered and connected, and where we have all established ourselves today. I now have the confirmation that my family tree connections were correct, even generations back. If you haven’t researched your ancestry, you should. The kits are not that expensive. Our son and daughter-in-law gifted my husband and me with ours last Christmas, and it was exciting for the whole family to see the results. My husband is adopted, so it has a special meaning for him to connect with birth relatives, most of whom he was unaware. Continue reading DNA
The Republic of Texas
I woke up that first morning contemplating my next move in this new place. I didn’t know anything about the area. Was there a trading post, other settlers? If there were others, they would most likely be along the river, probably further southwest. It was an uncertain time in the territory. The both of us traveling a distance on one horse was risky but we had no choice. We needed tools, basic supplies, a mule and a wagon. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 10
Upon my return, I noticed something peculiar in CB’s behavior. He seemed preoccupied, on edge, not at all himself. At first I thought it had to do with me personally, something I had done, or said. It nagged at me that he could be holding me accountable for the death of Louis, finding himself somehow caught in the middle, between the Friedel loss and my part in it. He had become close with the Friedel family, visiting their farm often, tending a full blown romance with Isabel. Or, I surmised, perhaps he was simply ill at ease with me, not knowing how to address my loss. He had expected me to return with my wife and baby, my family. It could be that my bereavement was more than he was sophisticated enough to process, not as acclimated in the white man’s ways as I had thought. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 8
Sitting on the old front porch swing, Julianne waits for the arrival of the unfamiliar, for the seventy-year-old-woman who gave her life. Gently pushing the toes of her left foot against the floor in rhythm with the suspended motion, Julianne is struck with the profound comfort of her own immobility. In the midst of the constant procession of life, I wait here, she thought. Had always waited, it seemed to her now, while her environment ripened around her, touching her, sustaining her, as the patterns of living changed routinely, yet predictably, through the years. Continue reading The Family
Mammaw Minnie came to me in a dream recently,
As a child near the age I was when she died.
She wore the dress and hair ribbon I’d seen in an old photograph.
Until the dream I did not know they were yellow.
Relatives drifted in and out of familiar old rooms,
Everyone laughed and talked at once. Continue reading The Dream
Crockett rode up one morning wanting to know if I’d be interested in doing some exploring, a little surveying in the territory northwest, almost halfway to the Mississippi, and thought I might want to look around there, perhaps laying claim to a homestead for myself. I had been splitting logs close to the boat’s mooring when he rode up behind me. Everyone else was over at the Wilkes place. I was glad it had worked out that way. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 4
We got married on June 30, 1820, on a Friday evening at the Wilkes’ house. The preacher came down from Pitts Burg Landing to perform the ceremony. He was a Baptist, quite young, a red-faced Scotch-Irish fellow, another Wilkes’ relative. Danny was not a religious man, as far as I knew. The subject never came up. I had been baptized at Christ’s Church in Montreal, but had never taken to the church life myself, having found it to be an inconvenience, as had my parents. Mana and her family, on the other hand, were Baptists. Mrs. Wilkes belonged to The Primitive Baptist Church, but Mana must have taken after her father in that respect, for Homer rarely attended services. Mrs. Wilkes spent a lot of time excusing their absences. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 3
Esta, old and dying, stood at the gate. She had lived from the beginning to the end. She had come from the place of perpetual bliss to this planet of death, but she had not come freely. She sank to the ground, her wizened old fingers clutching the dirt, as she summoned the great wings of thought. Come, take me back to Ova, she willed. As her head fell to rest upon the brown parchment remains of the garden’s dying trees, Esta remembered. Ova was gone. Continue reading The Last Ovalian
Way back there in birthing bed
alone again she’d weep.
Year after year, new flesh, new bone,
pushed out like temporal teeth.
Ripped from its sockets by the roots,
life gasped and screamed for air,
then quieted down in perfect peace
to rich maternal fare.
Grandmother soil, warm and fertile,
the perfect garden spot.
She was Eve in efflorescence:
Black-eyed Susans, Blazing Stars,
Snow-drops, Spring Beauties,
Ragweed and Clover.
She was Eden, perennially pregnant.
Wildflowers, we speckle the landscape,
earth’s laughter, we nourish and flavor the land.
Spawned one by one in darkened rooms,
loosed as fledglings from cradling hands:
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
Words are garments
which clothe my thoughts,
like fabric woven from threads.
They can be worn loosely, letting my spirit breathe,
or, bound so tightly, the thoughts are never free.
A few thoughts, essentially unspeakable,
I must wrap warmly in dark, heavy wool,
dressing them carefully for discretion’s sake-
But the majority can be draped in transparent lace,
and exposed to the world.