Saturday, 29 June 2013

Highland Games and Family History

The second Saturday in June was the Highland Games in Georgetown. As the new clan convenor for Ontario, I ran a booth for the Henderson Clan while my husband and son competed in piping this year. Other than the fact that the powers that be positioned me downwind from the port-o-potties, it was a fun day. For the first time in years, the rain held off all day, and we got to hear fantastic bands and soloists. Friends and band members came to hang out in the tent to escape the sun. The cheese and onion pasty with mushy peas was delicious. The Iron Bru tasted like melted bubblegum (trust me, it's a good taste). And from the clan tent I could see the heavy athletics (tossing telephone poles, hoisting weights that would cripple lesser men).

The dogs lay under the table in the shade and darted out now and then to get crooned at and have their ears rubbed. My son checked in once in a while to spell me off and keep me company, tall and slim and handsome in his kilt. I had a display of everything Henderson I could get my hands on, with newsletters and histories and photos and books and membership applications. Though only a Henderson by marriage, I had studied up on interesting facts and stories to share.

Nobody came.

Well, my son informs me that while I was out scouting for an apple dumpling with caramel sauce, a bunch of Hendersons stopped by the booth and picked up business cards. But that was it. I never met another single one all day. Surely there are clan members out there somewhere. But none of them stopped by. I have two more Games to attend this summer, and hopefully traffic will be a bit better. It would be really embarrassing to finish my first season as a convenor without having spoken to a single clan member!

I know more about my own family history, of course. I was raised on stories and folklore, music and songs from my family history. Both of my parents are genealogy enthusiasts and I have spent many hours researching and writing ancestral history. I fell asleep at night to stories about Great-Grandpa Lonnie blowing up the school stove, Grandpa Waite hitting bullets with hammers, Uncle Owen sticking apples on the electric barbed wire fence for the cows to bite into. Mom didn't always like me to hear these stories when I was young and impressionable, but they gave me immense joy and satisfaction. And then there are the stories of the pioneers, my ancestors who walked to what is now Utah to escape persecution, the sacrifices and challenges they went through, their offerings that formed a wonderful legacy for me and my siblings. Their stories form the foundation of my own life, give me roots and bearings. Give me direction and hope.

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