Monday, August 11, 2008

Right You Are!

Tom Broadfoot
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
Category: “Write, Write, Write”
Silver Medal
Event B: participate in a blog carnival (Carnival of Genealogy - 54th Edition)

“Right You Are!”

Just because my family came to America from locations in Scotland and England doesn’t mean that you can understand them even though they are speaking English. As a small child, I went with my father, Tom, a first-generation American, to visit his mother’s family whose surname was Aiken. At one house, a woman threw open an upstairs window, leaned out and called out to my father. She called my father by his middle name and spoke to him in her loud “Scottish voice”! I was confused and asked my father if she was speaking French. I still remember his laughter.

The “wee bairn” (that’s what they called me) was a hit with the family from that point on. I was so sure it was French because I knew my father took French in high school and could speak it well enough to talk to the children during his time in Europe during WWII.

Aren’t we supposed to listen to family stories and make sense of them?

Athletic and gregarious, Tom inherited a habit of saying, “Right you are!” and nodding emphatically when he spoke the words. It meant he was agreeing with what you said and appreciated your conversation. I don’t think my father fully understood my desire for getting the ancestor names and dates down on paper. He would have been impressed and given me a “Right you are!” for researching back four more generations past his own father. I did it in his memory and learned that Scottish women (these are my great-grandparents) are a forceful influence on family and are determined and frugal. I love being right.

About a month before she died, my mother told a story about her great-grandmother Sarah who lived to be ninety-nine. One Sunday, she was out for a ride in the car with her family. Whoever was driving drove past the local evangelical church. They were being spiritual by singing and shouting on the lawn of the church and throwing themselves down on the ground. (“Holy Rollers”) It is said, that upon viewing this somewhat alarming event in conservative New England, whoever was driving wanted to stop and see if anyone was injured. Sarah told them to keep driving and remarked, “Leave ‘em lay where Jesus flung ‘em!”. In my family, we have now adopted this saying as a measure of tolerance for things we don’t fully understand but accept.

You know what my father would say, don’t you? “Right you are!”

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Anonymous said...

Good one! I grew up with a girlfriend two doors down - her parents were Scottish immigrants. I later worked with her mother when I was in college. After all these years...I'm still never quite sure what the Dad is saying. It's a treat for the ears to listen to them though!

wendy said...

I'll have to remember the "Jesus" remark! Too funny!