Wednesday, July 11, 2012

At the old Cunningham Place

Cunningham really is my maternal great-great grandmother's maiden name. I make up most of the names on this blog, but since it was that long ago, I figure we're safe. Both of the structures in this picture were not in place at any time when my ancestors were around-- I think (though Grandma used to visit as a little girl, so who knows; that hen house could have been built in the forties, right?)

Watercress still grows on the banks of the stream that runs through the old place; they used to have watercress sandwiches for lunch, from time to time.

The story is that my ancestor who fought in the Civil War on the side of the South passed through a beautiful valley on his way to the war, and said to himself, "If I live through the war, I am going to come back and settle here." He did, and he came back and married the daughter of the man who owned the vast majority of the land in the valley.

My mother's third-cousin-twice-removed (if I recall correctly) lives on the same patch of land where that Civil War vet landed, and as we were driving through Alabama on our way to Uncle Charlie's funeral, we stopped at her place (the old family farm) for the night. Early the next morning, I woke up and went out with the camera and caught a few things in that nice early morning light.

And, just in case you were wondering: as far as I know, these particular Cunninghams did not have slaves-- it being after the Civil War and all-- but that surely does not clear them of charges of ever having been racist. And on the other hand, it is also true that this branch of the family, at this point in history, seems to be more anti-racist than most people I've met. My thinking is that when it's in your face like that, you have to make a decision, and they (the ones I've met) made one that makes me pleased to be related to them.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grandmere et Grandpere

Mom kindly phoned me this morning with her permission to publish the following.

In case you can't tell, Mom is smiling gently and Dad is being mock-serious.

Made Me Cry On The Fourth of July

In Kenya, there has been cross-border violence-- Muslims from Somalia have attacked Christian churches in the city of Garissa; fifteen have been killed. The Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims decided that they needed to do something about this. Adan Wachu, the head of this Supreme Council was quoted thusly:
"...[W]e all resolved to stand together as one united front," he said.
"We decided as solidarity that the Muslim youth will provide a vigilante service to the churches not only in Garissa but in any other places that the Christians may deem fit."
The full article is on the BBC website. PG warning: there is a picture of the inside of one of the churches where an attack happened; no bodies, but there is blood.

It should go without saying, but I'm going to say it: we need more of this-- I think that we specifically need more Christians, in this country, to step up and vocally protect Muslims; I think we need more respect all around and more willingness to admit that disagreement does not have to lead to destruction, not only of human lives but also, even, of relationships.

Oh, and happy fourth!

I finally remembered to put the flag up this year-- on the first!-- after three years of living here. I always seem to remember on, like, the sixth, when it would seem silly to start. But, having started on the first, I can put it out every day until the end of the month, which makes me very happy.

Just so you know, this is not a normal view from our front porch. It's my obsession with trees, again; I felt that the stars and stripes would be shown to best advantage if I could pair them with one of my favorite portrait subjects. I stood on the concrete block beside the porch (the one that's there to prevent skunks from nesting under said porch) with my back smushed into the bushes to the right of the door as I was taking this picture. I also gave a presumably tasty breakfast to a couple of mosquitoes. I protested that I had given enough already this season, but they didn't seem to care.

Portrait of Papa

From when he and Mom and Ivy and I all went down to Florida for his oldest brother's funeral. I took this just before we left for the funeral, outside the hotel; the light was just too darn good to ignore, and the metal bench was pretty cool-looking, too. Also, he was smiling-- or, I could get him to smile, which amounts to the same thing, right? I have one of him and Mom together, which I like even better than this one, but I haven't asked her yet if she minds if I put it up on the blog. If she says yes, I'll post that one, too.