Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Inherited Heretical Psychosis

This is the ancestral home of the Hampshire crazies. Built just after the Civil War. Pretty, ain't it?

"Now Uncle Gene was never an inside member of the church, he just attended." Granddaddy

I've grown up hearing about Uncle Gene -- one of those crazy bachelors of which my family tree seems to be full. Uncle Gene was my great, great uncle on my father's side, and he was a blacksmith -- big, big man. I don't think he had a scary beard like the great-grandfather on that side, but maybe I should check. I've seen the remains of his blacksmith shop; today it seems to be a popular place for 'Shire youth to hang out and get wasted while munching on Doritoes, if I were to speculate based on the amount of trash. There's a handful of knives and other gadgets he made being passed about the family according to who's in favor with whom. I learned today that when the family hosue started to settle back in the day and they were afraid that it would fall off the hill he rigged some iron bars and drove them through the house to hold it up. Legendary member of the clan, Uncle Gene.

Heard another story about him today as well. Back in the 1930s when folks in the 'Shire were starting to get cars -- my grandfather reckons that there were three families with cars, and yes, my family was one of those -- the elders at Cathey's Creek Church of Christ became all bumfuzzled by the existence of cars. Someone was going to get run over. Horses were getting spooked. Things were liable to blow up. In other words, Church of Christ elders don't deal well with change and this extends to modes of transportation.

Well, one of the elders decided that it'd be a good idea -- in order to keep the cars away from the church building -- to drive a bunch of oak posts into the perimeter of the church yard. And the elder goes ahead with his plan.

The next Sunday morning, Uncle Gene arrives at the church with the rest of the clan, in their spiffy new car, and he's not too happy to see the posts. So Uncle Gene, who is most likely past sixty by this point -- he was born in 1871 according to familysearch.org -- and walks with a big stick, hops out of the car, pulls the oak posts out of the ground by himself, sets them to the side of the church building, walks in the building, and sits down in the back row like always.

Now, this reminds me of a story about my great aunts, Alice and Anna, who were twin sisters, and a force to be reckoned with. According to my cousin, one Christmas, probably in the sixties, Alice and Anna both had new pantsuits. And it was cold. So they decided that they were going to wear their pantsuits to church at the Cathey's Creek Church of Christ. Mind you, people today will still glare at a member of the female sex if she shows up at Cathey's Creek on a Sunday morning in pants. Anna and Alice put on their pantsuits and Revlon Love that Red lipstick and they went to church, with Alice's husband and two daughters in tow. They stepped in the church building. The elders looked at Anna and Alice. Anna and Alice looked at the elders. The elders looked at them. The elders backed down. And Anna and Alice became the first two women to wear pants to the Cathey's Creek Church of Christ and unknowingly became heroines to future feminist members of the clan.

My family has a long history of challenging church authorities it seems. My madness is in the genes! Teehee!

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