Category Archives: General

‘This Day Shall Be For You A Memorial Day’

I will have to remember this one.

“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a holy day. Throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”
Exodus 12:14

There are dates, special days, in every family that people mark to celebrate. Birthdays and wedding anniversaries are probably the most common.

I’ve been thinking about those days that were noteworthy in our ancestors’ lives. Of course, there are many. But some have a significance that others do not.

July 28th is one, the day my great grandmother’s younger brother died in France.

I need to make note of these and find ways to remember and honor those who are no longer with us.


A Life of Purpose

Everyone should learn about their ancestors. Start asking questions.
Everyone should learn about their ancestors. Start asking questions.

I think there is more to life than this. But it’s a good place to start.

Remembering those who came before us is important, particularly in this age of constant distraction.

I don’t understand those who overlook history. I never have. The past makes up who we are today.

Of course, it takes a certain amount of devotion and perseverance. But, in the end, learning about the people in your family tee and their lives is well worth the effort. So often genealogists compile a list of names and dates and places, neglecting to discover the essence of the people and their times.

What major events did they witness? How did these moments in history affect their lives? What was life like for them?

That’s what I want to learn. I want to get to know them. I want to retell these stories, to record these men and women for posterity. What can we learn from them?

Go ahead. Start asking questions of the older generations. Plunge into it, before they are gone forever, and the stories with them.


Suliat Wants To Be Friends


Today I received the following message from a ‘Suliat Amsalu,’ who I am guessing doesn’t actually exist.


I love these scammers and spammers. Some of the attempts at conning me are quite creative.

“i saw your profile now on
(facebook) and i like it.”

very e e cummings.

“I want us to be friends if you don’t mind.”

Oh, she wants to be friends! Of course! She also wants my email address.

“email me so that i may tell you more about
me and also give you my pictures”

Is ‘her’ lack of punctuation artsy or just lazy?

She is a simple Christian-Hindi-Catholic girl from either India or Côte d’Ivoire or, more likely, nowhere.

Thankfully, Facebook is right on top of it. One of Suliat’s many pages don’t exist no more.

Take care, Suliat.


Stephen Is No Saint

It is interesting to read about other people’s traditions and cultures. Today, the day after Christmas, is Boxing Day and St. Stephen’s Day.

My younger brother’s name is Stephen, and believe me, he is no saint. (I jest, of course.) The original Saint Stephen died for his beliefs, a true hero.

But enough about the Stephens.

The best clue to Boxing Day’s origins can be found in the song “Good King Wenceslas.” According to the Christmas carol, Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on St. Stephen’s Day — Dec. 26 — when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. Moved, the King gathered up surplus food and wine and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant’s door. The alms-giving tradition has always been closely associated with the Christmas season — hence the canned-food drives and Salvation Army Santas that pepper our neighborhoods during the winter — but King Wenceslas’ good deed came the day after Christmas, when the English poor received most of their charity.

It has evolved into a major shopping day in England, Canada, and Ireland, similar to Black Friday in the United States.


Lime or Lime?

Barbarian tribes, particularly the Gauls and Celts, used lime to bleach their hair and to hold it in place.”

Hmmm. I can’t imagine there was much of a lime trade — the fruit — in Europe at the time. Do they mean lime, as in carbonates and limestone?

Celtic warriors have been described as resembling the Roman god Pan, for the way they lime their hair and make it stand up and pull it back to the nape of their neck. This was probably a battle tactic to make themselves look frightening to the enemy.”

The Greek historian Diodorus wrote a vivid description of the Celts.

“Their aspect is terrifying … They are very tall in stature, with ripling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheaads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse’s mane.”