Friday, September 05, 2008

This is kind of cool. My great grandpa was a champion fiddler and played regularly for a radio show in Michigan in the 20s. (I never knew that!) He's mentioned about halfway down the page in this article. Amongst family, great grandpa was called Papa Kent, and he was apparently a real ogre of a man. He died quite a while before I was born, so I never had to know of his meanness up close and personal. Apparently he'd get drunk and walk around town naked. (I think they all lived in Lepanto Arkansas at the time). One time, (if I've got this straight) he was walking around town au naturel accessorized only with a pistol, which he used to blow a hole in some guy's hat. He was aiming for the guy's head, though, so lucky thing he was drunk.

No one liked him. But he played a mean fiddle.


Mama Kent also died well before I was born. She was the long-suffering type, and they had, like, a million kids. I seem to have endless numbers of second- and third- cousins, mostly not married to one another. Mama Kent divorced P.K., but it didn't stick, and for some reason she allowed herself to be persuaded to remarry him. At some point, she had a stroke and never really talked again, afterward, although she could say one word. Whenever she was frustrated or angry, she would say the word "scat!" Married to PK, I can imagine she said "scat" a whole bunch.

It's funny to think of one's forbears, particularly those dead before you were born, but who kept their silent vigil over your life from the stately poses of photos on the wall and in family albums. It's interesting to think of quirky things you may have in common with a person whom you never met, like a recessive gene that rears its ugly head every so often. I don't think I could be drunk enough to walk around the High Street naked, but if I did, I'll bet I'd carry a pistol and say "Scat!" a whole bunch.

Who knows?


Anonymous said...

Great post! My Mom was youngest of 14! Grandpa' also drank alot. I really think when I talk with friends that this was common in that generation -- no birth control or TV -- all those kids -- the guys HAD to get out of the house!

The Atavist said...

Nice to known I'm not the only one with some truly weird forebears.