Genetic Clothe

After visiting my cousin Marlene when she had pancreatic cancer, I commented to a friend, “I hope I would not be in that much denial if I ever got sick, but I am cut from the same genetic clothe as Marlene and I don’t know what I would do if I were in her situation.”

Marlene’s sickness and death was a catalyst for me to move home, and now that I am here, I am getting in touch with my “genetic clothe;” I am learning about myself, just by being in the place where I grew up and around my family.

This past weekend, my mother and I went “up north,” 240 miles to northeastern Michigan, to the place where my mother grew up and where I still have relatives. An aunt and a cousin live down the dirt road from my grandparents’ farmhouse. Another cousin is converting the farmhouse into a hunting lodge.

While we were up north, I saw several cousins; a few were tending to their deer blinds in anticipation of the upcoming hunting season. Yes, my family hunts.

Neither of my parents hunted, and it was not something I ever did. Over the years, though, I have received annual reports—who hunted during bow and arrow season or who shot a deer.

This weekend, one of my cousins asked if I wanted to ride with him to his blind. I had seen blinds before, but this ride was on a four-wheeler, and I had never been on a four-wheeler. I said, “yes.”

We drove past my grandparents’ farmhouse and into the woods. Along the way, my cousin pointed out sights from our childhood. One spot was where the original hunting lodge had been, a favorite play house for us as kids. It is long gone, but the clearing remains. And then we crossed the spring-fed creek, clear and icy-cold; as a child, I loved drinking from that spring.

We continued deep into the woods until we reached his blind, poised on a beautiful little clearing, with a good vantage point for sighting deer.

I can’t quite imagine myself hunting, in the same way I can’t see myself parasailing or even golfing. I’ve got nothing against those activities, but if I had four free hours, I would rather read a book.

So, maybe I’ll go up north during hunting season to spend some time with my family, and while they are out hunting, I will sit in the lodge and read.


2 thoughts on “Genetic Clothe

  1. Anne Marie Lom

    I learn a lot about myself from being with my sisters and their families. That “genetic cloth” you mentioned is very real. It is a blessing, when we have left home, to reconnect with that part of ourselves.

  2. Madeline Bialecki

    It has been interesting to me in part because my family does not really know me. They have seen me for a couple of hours once or twice a year. Some of my cousins I only see every four or five years. And yet they are part of me and me of them.


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