Today’s Word of the Day prompt is the word KINDRED. Something everyone has, whether they know it or not.
I’ve written before about my adventures on Ancestry.com — and now I’ve built another family tree on MyHeritage.com, so I’ve got lots of information coming at me in regards to my forebears. Basically my Vance great-great-great-grandfather David had his origins in Gallowayshire, Scotland, and moved to Wigtownshire, married thirteen-year-old Agnes Jones and had a large family, mostly boys. He was killed at age 34 in a storm, after which several of his sons left that area hoping for a better life in Canada. They emigrated circa 1835.
David’s son, my great-great gr. Joseph, married Sarah Shannon and had one son, then she passed away. He brought his son John along when he came to Canada. En route to Oxford County he met another Sarah, the daughter of Samuel Russell and Sarah Jane (nee Powers) Allen of upstate New York. Joseph and Sarah were married and their first son — and possibly their daughter as well — appear to have been born in Quebec. The two offspring, true to form, were named Joseph and Sarah Jane.
This tendency to name the oldest children after their parents sometimes helps matters and sometimes confuses the issue. My great-great grandparents named their children after all of Joseph’s brothers, plus Samuel after Samuel Allen, I’m supposing, and the youngest one was William, some other kinsman’s name.
Joseph’s oldest son Joseph name his two oldest children Joseph and Sarah Jane; so did Great-uncle George and James, if I have it right. To add to the confusion of all the same-name cousins, I also discovered that three of my great-grandfather’s brothers married Margarets. Wouldn’t that have given some interesting family gatherings?
Samuel, my great grandfather, was the second youngest of Joseph and Sarah’s six sons, born after they were settled and farming in Oxford County, Ontario. Most of the kindred settled in the Tavistock area and from there have spread out in every direction. Great-grandpa Sam and his brother James came west; at least two of his brothers went to Michigan when land was opening up there; some moved farther north in Ontario, to Huron and Lambton Counties.
Great-grandfather never had a girl to name after his mother, but he named his oldest son Allen, so that family was represented. Maybe he figured there were already enough Josephs in the clan, as his second son was William James after his two brothers.
Grandfather Allen Vance kept up the tradition: his older sons were Samuel Charles, William Steven, and Joseph Daniel. My father, the youngest, was Wilfred Allen, but his dad died when he was a boy and he started calling himself Allen Wilfred. My brother is James Allen. Looks like that’s where the tradition will end.
And that’s enough — probably a lot more than you wanted to know — about my kindred.
The Word of the Day prompt this morning is RECTITUDE
This is one of those words I’ve known and seen often over the years. A fine word, but far enough out of my normal realm of speech that I wanted to look it up before I start writing.
Nelson-Gage Canadian Dictionary says:
1) Upright conduct or character; honesty; righteousness
2) Correctness, especially of judgement, procedure, etc.
Rectitude may sound like a rigid, stuffy word but, in reality, our society functions on the principles of rectitude. The economy ceases to function, lives are put in danger, and relationships break down when people stop being honest, careful, or correct.
People may make fun of folks who are “a stickler for rules.”
They may say, “It’s not such a big deal to cut corners. Everyone does it.”
They may think, “Being that hung up on honesty is so old-fashioned!”
Or, “If it feels good, do it.”
But this nonchalance is a bit hypocritical. Where it REALLY counts, we all demand integrity.
For example, would you mind very much if your bank teller takes a rough guess when adding up your balance? If you comment on the discrepancy — after your cheque bounces — and she says, “So what if I was out a few dollars,” will you say, “No, that’s fine.”
What if you‘re on the operating table being prepped for the bi-pass that will save your life and your surgeon leans over you and says, “I’m going to take a stab at it, but I have to admit I had other issues going on so I skipped out on the classes where we learned how to do heart surgery?”
My mind goes back to a young girl I worked with for a time. She was cheerful, a good worker, and ready to agree to whatever you asked — but commitment meant nothing to her. I observed this on several occasions. For one thing, she promised to join me and help out at a charity function. Totally agreeable to do it, but when the day came she never showed.
Even the commitment to be at work wasn’t always a priority. One day our boss at the Doughnut Shop had to call someone else in to work because this girl hadn’t showed up. Her excuse later was, “I’d promised to drive my aunt to Yorkton this morning.” (A small city three hours away.)
Having developed this attitude/lifestyle, I wondered how seriously she’d take car payments, a marriage commitment, family obligations?
Over the years I’ve seen that even people who are quite indifferent about honesty and integrity still expect this discipline in others. One acquaintance who thinks nothing of bending the truth or telling an outright lie if it’s convenient, gets furious if she finds out someone has lied to her.
People who cut corners themselves still go to a doctor and expect a thorough exam and an accurate diagnosis, not some nonchalant guess as to what may be the problem. They expect their optometrist will give them the right prescription for glasses and their dentist will fill the right tooth. They count on the pilot of their plane to follow all the safety guidelines and not just head out without proper clearance, hoping for the best.
As easy-going as she was in her commitments, my co-worker would have been furious if she’d had to stand at a bus stop for an hour in the rain because the bus driver decided to stop in and visit his mother on the way to work. Or if she’d been flying to Toronto and ended up in Edmonton because the pilot felt like going there instead.
Most of us go to work and we do our job to the best of our ability because other people depend on us, not just our bosses but the consumers of what we produce.Try telling a reader that a few dozen spelling errors and typos should be okay in a book—and see what he says.
In countries where people aren’t very conscientious and cut corners to save themselves a buck or two, some stress comes up and the lack of integrity costs lives. In Haiti, for example, builders who used poor quality rebar and cement, saw their buildings pancake when the earthquake hit. People were trapped and crushed to death because of poor quality materials.
Even if we don’t like them, most of us understand the importance of specs. We don’t steal because we’ve grasped a basic principle: “What goes around comes around” and we don’t want to be stolen from. We’re honest with others because we want them to be honest with us, and trust us. If we find out someone isn’t honest or trustworthy, we soon limit our contact with them.
There is a certain sowing and reaping going on in this world. I’ve lived long enough to see people receive a fitting reward for their actions.
In one place Jesus touched on the matter with these words:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Rectitude. Personal integrity. Honesty. Commitment. Carefulness. Old-fashioned virtues that make our society a safe and secure place to live. And they will for hundreds of years to come — if we can pass them on to the next generation.
I wrote this fun piece in response to Fandango’s one-word prompt for today: ALMOST. Check out his blog to see the other responses, or add your own.
I was especially prompted to write this tale by Frank Prem’s not-quite-haiku, Almost a Cockatoo. You’ll see the link to his blog, Seventeen Syllable Poetry, listed among the others. 🙂
ALMOST EVERYBODY HAS A PAIR
“Mom, I need new running shoes.”
“So what else is new?” was Dad’s comment.
“You just got new shoes back in spring, Brandi.” Mom reminded her.
“That’s right,” Dad agreed. “And as I recall, they cost me a wallet full of bills.”
“Mom, Dad. Listen to me! The shoes you got me back in spring were El-cheapos. Now they’re like, RAGS! They’re decomposing with every step. I’m gonna get gangrene if I keep wearing them. I REALLY need new shoes.” Brandi stuck out a foot to show the evidence and wrinkled her nose. “I need something a little higher quality.”
Dad jabbed a finger in her direction. “The way you and your sister go through shoes, all we can afford are El-Cheapo brands. Do I dare ask how much ‘a little higher quality’ is going to set me back?”
Brandi rolled her eyes. “Oh, Dad. All you think of is money! You don’t understand how…how…ostracized I feel wearing Excess-Economy brand when all the other kids are wearing these cool new TECH-tonic ‘Earthmovers’. Kids who have ‘em say they really grip the ground and…”
“And all your classmates are wearing these?” Mom asked.
Brandi’s sister Trena nodded in agreement. “I’ll need a new pair soon, too.”
“Even some of the poorest kids,” said Brandi. “And they’re, like, $220 a pair.”
Dad’s eyes popped open. “Two hundred and…” He whistled. “And everybody in your class has a pair? Except some of the poorest kids, of course — like you two.”
Brandi stuck out her chin.“Well, yeah. Do you want us to be scorned by the whole school? Mocked on Facebook because our shoes are rotting on our feet?”
Mom looked at Dad and raised her eyebrows. Dad looked at Mom and raised his eyebrows. Somehow they both managed to maintain a ‘bank-manager-considers-loan’ sobriety.
“We’ll see.” Mom said. “Now that I think of it, Carrie’s cousin volunteers at school Thursday mornings. I’ll ask her what she thinks of these news shoes everybody’s wearing. You called them Earthmovers?”
Brandi nodded, squirmed, and sent her sister a desperate glance. “Well, almost everybody. At least five kids in my class have a pair. But the rest are getting them as soon as…”
Dad grinned. “As soon as they can talk their folks into saving them from mocking and scorn?” He winked at Mom.
Brandi and Trena gave each other a meaningful look and rolled their eyes as if to say, “Parents. They’re so…archaic!”
“Lest old acquaintance be forgot…”
Writing my Nanowrimo story in November, the main character being a girl turning twelve and the setting being the summer of 1957, I was researching various interests and hobbies of the late 50s. One of these was autograph books, so I gave my main character one for her birthday.
I wonder how many of you readers remember the autograph books we passed around among our family and friends so we’d have a memory of them for our old age? I’m afraid this bit of social fun has been forgotten in this texting generation — though I’d be delighted to know I’m wrong and some children still have one.
I had one myself, and so did my husband, and I signed many a friend’s autograph book. The idea was to write some sort of good wish, verse, quote, bit of song, and then sign it.
This poem was written by one of Mom’s siblings:
“How nice it is to have a friend
who always plays the game,
knows all the faults that you possess
and loves you just the same.”
This bit of wisdom, maybe a forerunner of the “How to eat an elephant” line, has often encouraged me when I feel overwhelmed by many To-Dos:
“Little and often makes a heap in time.”
This advice was given to Bob by his Dad:
“A little said, and truly said,
can deeper joys impart
than hosts of words that touch the head,
but never reach the heart.”
Here’s another encouragement my third-grade teacher wrote for me:
“May your life be like a snowflake;
leave a mark, but not a stain.”
Verses could be silly, like these written by two of my friends:
“I saw you in the ocean; I saw you in the sea;
I saw you in the bath-tub. Oops, pardon me!
“Two in a hammock waiting to kiss
all of a sudden they went like…”
The writer turned the book upside down to write “this…”
She drew a little illustration to go with this, a hammock between two trees.
And someone was sure to turn to the last page and scribble these lines:
“By hook or by crook,
I’ll be the last one
to sign in this book.”
To write this article I went scrounging through my box of ancient papers, thinking I could find my or my husband’s autograph books — and didn’t. What I did come across was two sheets of notebook paper on which Bob’s mom copied all the writings in her autograph book, which she’d kept for years. Mom was born in 1908, so autograph books have been around a long time indeed!
Here are a few more from her book:
“There is a pale blow flower that grows
around the shepherd’s cot,
and in the silence of the night
it softly breathes ‘forget me not’.”
“May your life be like arithmetic—
friends added, joys multiplied,
sorrows subtracted, enemies divided.”
“When the golden sun is setting
and your mind from care is free,
when of others you are thinking
will you sometimes think of me?”
If you think of some autograph that’s stuck with you through the years, please share it in a comment.
Travel Tales from Exotic Places Like Salford
by Julian Worker
I received a copy from Story Cartel a few years back and posted this review on my blog, Christine Composes. I’ll reprint my thoughts for the benefit of new readers who may not have heard of this interesting book — which is still available on Amazon and Kobo.
You need to take your time with this book, savoring it like chocolate truffles, and it’s set up in sections so you can do that. Rather than using chronological order the writer divides his book geographically, describing spots tourists would most likely want to visit and giving directions on how to get there, as well as some encounters he’s had with the locals.
Mr Worker gives some historical background as well as thorough details of the area he’s writing about. By the time I was done reading about some of these places I was ready to pack my bags and go! His description of the soccer/football match had me cheering, too, though I have no interest in that sport. And his last few pages about his trials with customs inspectors and linguistic misunderstandings made me chuckle.
I found this book intelligently written, well crafted and well edited. The writer shows due respect and sensitivity to various cultures and customs. If you enjoy visiting other countries or reading about others’ travels, you will really enjoy this book.
I notice the author has done another travel book as well, titled Julian’s Journeys.