My kids got me one of those ancestory DNA testing deals for Father’s Day. I’m not sure they thought I’d like it, or if they were interested to know they might be related to the Queen of England.
I’m not a big genealogy guy in terms of my own exhaustive research, basically because my great aunt earned a pretty good living doing professional research for people. Before she died, she had the Paxton clan pretty well mapped out, although my middle daughter in a History Day project did some digging that uncovered some interesting skeletons in the family history.
It seems my kin had a real problem with Pennsylvania Indians, namely the Conestogas, which led to events that over the course of about 100 years, helped them wind up in Iowa…farming right next to the Meskwakis in Tama County. Go figure.
Anyway, my maternal grandmother’s family imigrated from Czechoslovakia between 1895 and 1900, which makes me a quarter Czech. The Paxton name is pretty much English and both sides of my mother’s family had Welsh surnames. So I figured I’m pretty much three-quarters British Isles and a quarter Czech (or Eastern European as the ancestory researchers say).
But there has always been a bit of a mystery over a story my great aunt would tell of her deep research into the Paxton history. It seems there was one Rollo “The Walker,” a Viking of likely Danish decent (but some say his family started in Norway), who invaded first Ireland, then wound up in Northern France around 918. The legend is that he was an enormous man, too large to ride most horses and did virtually all of his pillaging on foot, thus the moniker “Rollo the Walker.”
After conquering northern France (Normandy) his kin, so said my great aunt, returned to the British Isles with the Norman invasion and ruled England for a time. It explains the family name Pax (peace) ton (town) that has Latin and French roots.
So now comes the DNA test from my very own spit. Sure enough, I am fully 25 percent Scandinavian (which explains my love of a good Norwegian joke and an affinity for cross country skiing), 25 percent western European (France and Germany, the whole Norman conquest deal) 20 percent Irish/Scots/Welsh, 20 percent Eastern European (Czech) and just 10 percent English.
Having learned this, I’m wondering why I am the tallest in my family at just over 5’9”, particularly knowing my great-grandfather Paxton was 6’2” and weighed almost 250 pounds, a huge man for the late 1800s. Apparently, the Paxton men have been attracted to short women for the past 1,100 years or so.
I can’t say that I feel any different, other than knowing beyond a shadow of doubt why I can sunburn from a 100 watt light bulb.
I do wish I would have known this Scandinavian deal earlier, though, because I probably would have named my son, Rolf, and my daughter Sigrid. We Scandinavians must work to keep our culture alive.
Community newspaper types work tirelessly covering our county fairs and most of our energy is poured into photos of kids and their projects, most notably livestock projects. Kids and cows, kids and pigs, kids and sheep and goats and then all sorts of stuff they build or arrange.
But you make a serious mistake if you don’t simply sit and observe the people and things which are the fair. It’s what makes the fair right.
I was eating lunch with some farmers at the fair when we spied two boys, second or third graders probably, roughhousing. Pretty soon a boot was thrown, a wrestling lock up ensued and a takedown as the two rolled to the ground. It certainly wasn’t dangerous and was as interesting to watch as any of the steers in the ring.
One got up, then the other, they entered into another clench and started to tumble to the ground, when a grandmotherly type woman shouted, “Hey, knock it off.” They obeyed immediately; one helped the bootless friend find his shoe and the two trooped off together. It was touching.
I am a hog farmer’s son, showed pigs nine years and still enjoy watching the swine show, if only to wait for the inevitable car (or pig) crashes. Two really good ones happened under my watch. The first crash happened just as the judge was to shake the young lady’s hand as Grand Champion. Her pig ducked the show stick and went right between her legs. She was riding backwards on the pig as the judge finished his congratulations.
The second could have come right out of a Three Stooges short film. Three big barrows were headed back into the barn from the show ring and hit the door frame at the exact same time. The harder they pushed, the more wedged they became. I was waiting for one to squeal “Yuk, Yuk, Yuk” and plant a toe between the eyes of the pig next to him.
The ring men and 4-Hers just stood back and watched and ultimately one, then two, then all three made it through.
There are some interesting lawsuits being filed around the country, not the least of which is a $100 million suit in the drowning deaths of 18 people riding the “duck” boats at Table Rock Lake in Branson. I’ve got a feeling this is the end of duck boats on Table Rock.
A suit I can’t quite come to grips with is being filed against Dr. Pepper, owner of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Apparently for some time, Canada Dry, through its advertising, has been boasting “real” ginger in its ginger ale when in fact, it has just a bit of fake ginger to flavor the drink. Who knew? Depending on how this works itself out, any number of product manufacturers like Orange Crush, Aunt Jemima maple syrup and Grape Nehi will be running for cover because they use artificial flavorings in their products.
I’m just not sure the point. Are ginger growers upset because they want more sales or is it all about false advertising? If anything, there should be a tariff on the soft drink since it has “Canada” in its name.
THIS IS RESTORATION Days weekend and time for my yearly reminder to offer your attendance to events as a payment to the people who work tirelessly to pull off the celebration.
Tom Woodard has again led the Restoration Days Committee through a year of planning and Morgan Henderson has been our devoted secretary and treasurer. But there are dozens working behind the scenes to make Restoration Days happen.
You’ve got your Albia Cray Quilters guild members, the cast and crew of the Restoration Days Follies, the folks setting up the big Saturday bar-be-que and party, Aaron Koestner and his parade crew, Jennifer Hess and her art show effort, Kim George and her children’s art in the park effort, Todd Ratliff and his Restoration Days Run cohorts, Marilyn Woods and her volunteers organizing the book sale, the people volunteering at the Monroe County Historical Museum, the food vendors, Laura Teno doing all she does at the Chamber and many others.
All we ask is for fair weather and for our friends and neighbors to come out and enjoy the days of celebration.