Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I'm procrastinating on my housework right now because the to do is simply so overwhelming that I'd rather continue to sit here and write a blog post and listen to L's continuous commentary on her schoolwork as she colors "short a" words red and "long a" words yellow.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. K's teacher is making a big deal out of as she's "mostly Irish" and K went off to school today in kelly green pants, a St. Patrick's Day shirt that Grandma bought her last year, and a shamrock hair clip, also courtesy of Grandma. Thanks, Grandma! As we were talking about it earlier this week, I told K a story of her Irish heritage that my Grandmother told me about her great-grandparents.

A very long time ago, a man lived in Germany with his wife and children.

(Trust me, I'll get to the Irish part in a bit, but the backstory here is important, so bear with me. Anyway...)

The German family decided to come to the New World, so they boarded a ship to America. By the time the ship arrived in America, there were only the father and sons who had survived the voyage. They settled in South Carolina where the father changed his name so that it sounded American and at least one son fought in the Confederate War. But in spite of their dedication to the new country, they still held onto their German heritage.

One day, one of the sons met a beautiful young woman, who I think was named Anna. We'll call her that anyway. And we'll call the boy Frederick. Because that's the first thing that comes to mind.

Frederick fell desperately in love with Anna and the young couple was anxious to marry. There was a problem, however. Frederick was German, but Anna was Irish. It seems that was a major cultural no-no (she was Catholic, after all) and the families were furious with their uncooperative children. It was such a huge issue, that Anna's father moved his entire family from South Carolina to Mississippi to get his daughter away from that German boy.

As you can imagine, this did not sit well with Frederick. He wanted to go after her, but his family was poor and he didn't have any horses or wagons that he could take. He packed a few things in a sack, and he took off on foot after Anna and her family. Frederick walked from South Carolina, across Georgia and Alabama, and into Mississippi until he found Anna. Her family was impressed with the enormous effort that Frederick had given and they allowed the marriage.

Isn't that romantic? What woman wouldn't want a man who would walk hundreds of miles just to be with her?

The story goes on, naturally, but the only part I know is the ending.

The young couple married, had a family, and moved to east Texas, to the small town of Bristol. Frederick lived to be 99 and even then he would often walk to a neighboring town across a large collection of railroad tracks to the store where he would sit and play checkers with the other old men. He had gone almost completely deaf, but he still liked the company. One day he was headed home from the store and he stopped to wait on a train to pass. He crossed one set of tracks, but he didn't realize that another train was approaching on a second track. He was killed by that second train.

I called my mom to find out their real names, but she couldn't remember. So, Uncle James, can you please tell me?

So that's one of our Irish ancestors. I'm sure there are more because of the whole melting pot thing. K also gets it from her dad's side. Heck, her last name *is* Irish. She's got the reddish hair and freckles, even.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

1 comment:

Will Stranathan said...

I'd walk from North Carolina to Texas for you. Especially if you'd come back to North Carolina with me. But even if you wouldn't, I'd still probably walk to Texas for you.