Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Intimidation of the Colossal Book of Remembrance

In my mind's eye (two assumptions) I can still see old Brother Brown (name changed to protect the deceased's memory and my own) bowed down with age and a colossal Book of Remembrance. No, come to think about it, it was really two colossal Books of Remembrance. These were binders so huge that no one, especially a newly minted genealogical researcher could possibly ever dream of competing against him in the Annual Lugging of the Book of Remembrance Sweepstakes. Here I was with my puny, skinny, weak binder hardly filled with anything except my copied 4 Generation submissions and a few pictures inherited from my Great-grandmother. I had been practicing every day, running up and down the stairs to the Chapel with my book lovingly tucked under one arm. But here I was, staring reality in the face. I would never even qualify for a starting position and there went all my dreams of hanging the woven hair trophy on my wall. There were only two short weeks left until the Competition and although I could easily best the decrepit oldster in the dash, he would have a monumental handicap, 100 points per pound, they say, I would have to beat the all time record if I were even going to qualify.

What could I do? I was sick with envy. Maybe I could find some older relative who would loan me their Book of Remembrance for the Competition? Would that be legal? Would I be cast out of the League of Luggers if I even tries such a stunt? I decided the best course was to talk to Brother Bruce. His Scottish ancestors had won him many a match of Shinty-hurling and his superb physical conditioning would undoubtedly bring him into the Competition this year. No, Brother Bruce would not even let his own children touch his massive Book of Remembrance. I remember the time his wife, in a moment of inattention, dusted the book with Pledge. It took two weeks of arbitration between the opposing parties to get Bother Bruce to allow his wife back into the home. No, I think it would be impossible to get anything useful out of Brother Bruce even if he was supposed to be distantly related.

Who else might save me from ignominy this year? I fully intended to go to the Family History Library and copy a few hundred more Family Group Records from the Patrons File, but I just kept putting the visit off until it was eternally too late. Now the Summer was past, the Fall was fast approaching and I was bereft of enough poundage to compete. What should I do.

I thought of my cousin Walter McDononaon, his only earthly skill was the caber toss. So hefting a measly half ton Book of Remembrance would have been a snap. But he got too near the Scottish hammer throw and it was all over for him. I think his will provided that all six of his Books of Remembrance be buried with him. Maybe I could dig them up? No. I think they tried that last year and the International Commission of the League of Luggers ruled against the idea in another similar case. There just doesn't seem to be an answer. It looks like Brother Brown will be the clear winner.

Wait a minute! I just thought of Aunt Agnes. She is fighting with her children over going to a rest home. They finally found one with the storage capacity for all her files and a reinforced floor to stand the strain of the stacks of Books of Remembrance, but Agnes is still not convinced. She has a Court injunction against them cleaning out her house. I understand you have to crawl in through the front door under the accumulated stacks of Books of Remembrance and boxes of correspondence, but maybe, just maybe I can convince her to lend me a few of her smaller Books for the Competition. The Rules say that, at least, 25% of the content of the Books has to have an arguable connection to the contestant and I think she is a 2nd Step-cousin through my Uncle Fred's fourth wife's sister. I need to get to the League headquarters this afternoon and look in the Gilded Book of Rules of Competition of the Most Honorable and Glorious League of Luggers of Books of Remembrance and see if that relationship is close enough to qualify. I think the competition is not over yet.

I'll let you all know how it turns out. Meanwhile, I have been practicing with a local competition of the Sheaf toss. I think I can win, unless Brother Brown has time to do more research. I understand that he now has 51 lines traced back to Royalty and most of those go back to Adam. I only think I have one and that one is through William Lord Ferrers of Groby in 1240 and I failed my last Latin transcription test. Maybe I should just quit and take up something useful, like watching all 121 episodes of Lost.

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