Been gone for a while. I don't tell people when we go...or when we're coming back...it's the only control we have over our lives anymore.
We went to Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival, and had a rousing time. Sorta got my fill of fiddle tunes, lumpy beds, late nights, and soggy mornings. It was very cool, with temps in the low 80's, and blanket weather at night. All my favorite people showed up.
Freddy Goodheart was having a last fling before his hip replacement. and singer entering or leaving camp all day and most of the night. he's been complaining for 20 years, and finally decided to do something about it. Last I heard he's walking up stairs...slowly.
ERIE Pa. It's spooky to get that far up North with no green card. I have a cousin there, and we have been communicating for years, and we decided to go up to see her family.
Sandy has the Family Tome. You know, the family Bible. The book with all the Shields' true or not. It's heavy enough to strike a grown man senseless, were it to fall on him. We looked at pictures, ciphered who was whom, when they was, and what they did. Most were farmers. There was a railroad engineer; Roscoe Shields, my grandfather. There was a cheese factory owned by a great grandmother's family, the Ames. Old Rio Rhodes, one of my great grandfather, left a legend that the Rhodes side of the family helped in the effort to defeated the English Navy on Lake Erie 200 years ago.
I met relatives I had seen pictures of...always interesting to see family resemblances. They are clearly there. All the men cousins and second cousins are bald...including me and my brother, Bob.
Next came the Dead Relatives Cemetery Crawl. They were all there , right where they put 'em, Ames, Shields, Rhodes, Monross, Maxwell, Thross, Daniel, Anderson, etc.
The wrench in the works of the whole process in figuring it out all the family came from the fact women give up there name for the sake of a marriage. At one point women were referred to a Mrs. John Doe, no first name or last name. Boy, no wonder women's lib caught on. Keep your name ladies...I think it would make tracing one's genealogy an easier job.
It was good to put faces, places and stones together...on my Shields side.
I did sit on the porch of Sandy's house overlooking Lake Erie, and had the privilege of watching the Niagara (a replica of one of the ship that whupped the British fleet on Lake Erie) doing drills on the lake. I composed a little ditty on the mandolin I call Watching the Niagara. I'll play it for you sometime.