i have been having a conversation with a blog buddy of mine about words- their meanings and intentions and why we use certain words in certain settings. i have been reading a series of books too that i wouldn't say i enjoy per se- but i have invested much time and am half way through and i really must see how this adventure ends. the author must get paid by the word because he writes an awful lot of superfluous ones. and bringing it full circle- i have been thinking about putting together a cookbook with recipes i have collected from various family members over the years- but to what end i don't know.
but it got me thinking about life and people and the world at large and the challenges we face- and the ones the folks who cooked those recipes faced- and their lives. i am estranged from much of my extended family due to substance abuses and just plain jealousy issues. i decided early on that if i wouldn't be friends with these folks if they weren't relatives, why should i force the issue because they are? many of my cousins and i- most- have nothing in common. so, we just parted ways no hard feelings. many of my uncles on my dad's side are deceased- there are only 3 kids left out of 9- and my mother's siblings think we are too hoity toity- 'highbrow' i believe they used to say. and i laugh.
i don't know much about what kind of people my grandparents were- i have none left- but i know that my mom loved her dad and does to this day miss him. i know that my paternal grandmother and i share a love of african violets and she grew them in pots that covered a buffet table. i also know she was a native american- seneca tribe- and my grandfather was an alchoholic with a mean streak. my maternal grandmother was a gossip who pitted her children against one another and divorced my grandfather in the days when it wasn't proper- for another man.
and i know that i am a product of all of them. i don't need geneology and dead words on documents to understand the people i came from. i see in myself that i got my dad's temperment- easily irritated and not quite a temper like he has- but i use my words to punch where he used his fists. i have his penchant for fighting for the underdog always and putting myself out there to do and say what no one else will. and my mom's love of reading and baking. i got my maternal grandfather's hazel eyes and my gram's big forehead. and i got my grandmother's native american cheekbones and my dad's oval face. luckily, i didn't get his ears.
where we came from- in my case bluecollar poor folks from the wrong side of the tracks- determines our future. we have to look back to look forward because who we are determines how we handle what comes next. my stock is stubborn on both sides and resourceful. making nothing out of nothing- it doesn't occur to us to not buck the system and make our way. we don't want something for nothing and we are not afraid to work for what we have. and i am lucky.
being a product of our ancestors is a foundation to jump from to become who we should be. i am not an alcoholic and i am not jealous of the time my sister has with my mother. i don't work to undermine their relationship and while i am not a hunter- i do enjoy fishing and working with my hands. words can be powerful tools but when it comes right down to it- they are a weak imitation of actually living life. and for me, anyway, they are a stepping stone to climb the mountain of what lies ahead. i have to do the actual living- and the scrappy folks who came before me gave me the tools.