Friday, April 7, 2017

Husband of First Cousin Twice Removed

I'm not sure because I'm getting older or because I participate in honoring newly deceased that belonged to an organization that I'm in, but I read the obituaries regularly. My parents who live out in the boonies and don't get a "local" paper unless they drive the 30 miles to town, often miss deaths of friends, neighbors and even distant relatives if I don't happen to catch them and send them to my mom in phone text form. One this morning caught my eye that came from my biological father's side of the family.

Like many American's these days, I'm a product of a divorced family. My father left when I was six years old and never really came back. I remember seeing him once and I think my mom has said I saw him several times before he wasn't interested in any more visits. I know now that he was simply too young to be a father at the time and really don't blame him for leaving. I'm actually always been kind of happy he left because my mom remarried when I was eight to the man whom I have considered my father ever since and my life has been better than I probably deserve ever since.

Anyway, I spent my childhood growing up on a farm surrounded by other families who were always kind to me. It was only after I developed my fascination with genealogy in my adulthood that I realized that all those families were related to me in one way or another. Our closest neighbor, whom I read in the obituary this morning, was married to a daughter of one of my great grandfather's brothers. According to Ancestry, that makes him the husband of my first cousin twice removed. I had forgotten how exactly he was related to me and before logging in to find out, I had thought he had married my grandfather's sister which would make him more closely related but that turned out not to be the case.

Although my family always get along well with this man's children and used to get along with the man himself, he hadn't spoken to us in over three decades despite being only a half mile away and the only neighbor visible from our house. Back in the 80's, his son had gone into "organic" farming which turned out to be marijuana. All summer long, planes kept flying south and low over our farm for reasons we didn't know and only when "harvest" began did we find out. I've told the story before of working on our pumpkin business outside while over 50 "plain" cop cars circled our block trying to apprehend our neighbor's son who had escaped via tractor and was driving through our fields. He was considered armed and dangerous and not one of them stopped and suggested we should go inside. He ended up holding up another neighbor (a distant cousin to him and a more closely related cousin to me at gunpoint and then turned himself into the law.

Although everyone involved knows he turned himself in and he even told his father (our recently deceased neighbor) that he turned himself in, his father always blamed my parents for his capture. We still would talk with his wife up until she died 15 years ago but he would never talk with us. He ended up living to the ripe old age of 95 and I'm guessing carried the bitterness towards my family with him to his grave. My parents will attend his funeral though to support two of his children in their time of grief. The son that did prison time for the above mentioned marijuana bust (at one point was the largest recorded bust in Iowa) is probably unsurprisingly back in prison with several years left of his sentence for having almost a ton of marijuana stored in his garage that he was trying to sell.  Although that happened a county away, 20 years after the original bust and after 20 years of silent treatment by our neighbor, I'm sure my family probably got blamed for that one too.


Kelly said...

Yay, blogger is working again. I couldn't comment on any of their blogs earlier today.

I guess most extended families have their intrigues and dramas. Some folks look for anyone to blame so as not to have to take responsibility themselves. As for your incident with the law enforcement, we had a similar situation once when a mobile meth lab wrecked at the end of our driveway. That sheriff decided to run again this past year after having been out of office for awhile. Thank goodness he lost.

I've read the obits for most of my adult life having been in various organizations where I needed to keep track of possible deaths.

Ed said...

Kelly - I never thought that there might be an element of shame on his part. My father and the son now in prison for the second time were classmates and still are friends when he isn't in prison. He really is a likable guy other than his choice of how he makes extra money.

sage said...

it is amazing how people will blame others... There was a sad funeral here, two weeks ago, where the brother of the deceased was in state prison. They brought him back, but he was in his prison clothes and wore shackles the entire time. The family had to pay for the two deputies to bring him here to the service. It was sad. Glad your parents are going to the service.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

That is quite a story! I can imagine there was some embarrassment about the son's arrest as well.
Funnily enough, if he were in a number of other states , he wouldn't be sent to prison for growing weed.

Ed said...

Sage - My motto has always been that life is two short to hold grudges. I've been pretty good at apologizing even if I felt I wasn't in the wrong simply because it is less work than trying to avoid or be mad at someone.

Pumpkin Delight - Technically, I think both incarcerations were before pot was legal in any state. Times certainly have changed.

Leigh said...

There's so much to be said for living in the same community all one's life. Most of us don't have that privilege and miss out on a lot. It's a shame about the blame game, though. What a thing to hold on to for so long.

Bob said...

What a story!

I have a neighbor across the street I got into a little tiff with a few years back when we were both out walking our dogs. His, which was twice as big as mine, got off his leash and came at my dog, with my neighbor just standing there. I kind of asked him to retrieve his dog, maybe in not the kindest of voices.

I've tried to make peace through the years but he seems to be wanting none of it. So silly. I probably need to try again.