Sunday, March 06, 2005

On A Roll

Last week I threatened all of my reader(s?) with the possibility that I might start rolling my blog. Picture me rolling a tire down an empty highway on my way to repair and/or replace a tire that has left my vehicle stranded miles from nowhere along the shoulder of the road. This, in fact, was the second time I have leveled this threat, so lest readers start to suspect that I am all bluff and no bite, I made an effort to follow through. Pasting the code onto my template took a dozen tries before I met with even limited success and I still haven't figured out how to give it a proper heading with 'Blogroll' written out in that snazzy Verdana cursive script as I had wanted to do, but at least it's functioning. Hubcaps are overrated. The links are there and they work.

Some of the links are to bloggers who have posted comments on my blog. Others are to blogs on which I've been known to leave comments. Several links are resources I visit frequently and make use of as a mine for materials to fashion posts for my blog. A few are sites that inspired me to begin writing my blog or have contributed in some way to the shape it has taken.

Last week I began looking at the family tree on which I am listed only as 'Living Lubach'. My mother's brother, John Steele, was the last in my branch of the Steele tree to carry the Steele surname. He was the seventh generation in the Steele line to carry that name, directly descended from George Steele, colonial era immigrant and Son of Liberty . An English teacher at a military academy, my uncle was an only son's only son, who never married and suffered the progressively debilitating effects of MS throughout the latter half of his life. A church organist for many years and a chaplain's aide on a supply ship in the navy during WWII, his middle name, Richard, became my youngest brother's middle name. Needless to say, the past half century has not boded well for American males whose chief inheritance is an incumbent, unspoken onus to find a way to preserve the family line.

Families now are much smaller than they were a century ago when most Americans were farmers and farmwork was nearly always a viable option. A family then couldn't have enough sons to handle all the chores. Fathers who were still alive and able to work productively at age 50 were not yet the norm, so oldest sons often owned or had primary responsibility for the family homestead by the time they were old enough to need a spouse. Creating possibilities and opportunities for younger siblings was part and parcel of managing the farm.

Family trees are inherently conservative and thus able to nurture the excesses of liberalism. They are an engine for maintaining a sense of continuity between the past and the future by means of the present. My mother's line has dead-ended and my branch of my father's line faces extinction as well, though both names through other lines will continue well into the future. No matter how much I might like to think that the collective gene pool needs what I could contribute, the fact is the gene pool will get along just fine without my seed. But I feel as though one thing I do have to offer the future is a sense of history. It may be that my sense of history, and its capacity for embracing diversity, is enough at odds with the official version to have compromised my willingness to make my genes available for future use.

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