Our daughters tell me it is quite a chore selecting a gift for me for any occasion. Both of them know as much as I like to collect glassware, vintage dishes, tea pots of any description, and a million other things that are special to my heart, one does eventually run out of places to put those collectibles. Therefore, they try to come up with unique gifts for me. So much has happened since my birthday in January that I haven’t fully followed one of my gifts as closely as I would have in “normal times.”
On the day we celebrated my birthday, Dawn handed me a small container that resembled a test tube and said, “So I can give you your birthday gift you must spit in this and make sure it is filled to the top.” I laughed, but it wasn’t a joke. She was getting my DNA to send to the place that can tell from where our ancestors came. I did as instructed. Dawn said it would be at least six weeks, maybe longer, before the results came back. “We must be patient,” our daughter who is usually as impatient as I am, told me.
We bundled up the filled-to-the-top DNA test tube according to instructions and mailed it. By the time the results came back the word “coronavirus” had crept into our world. There were masks and gloves to buy and be worn, disinfectants to stockpile and use on every doorknob and surface. The word “pandemic” became as familiar to us as our home address. When the results of my test were posted on Dawn’s electronic device, she called to tell me how I could retrieve the information about my lineage.
I had forgotten all about the DNA birthday present, but my excitement grew as I spent the next two weeks figuring out how to retrieve the information. That was during the time when no one was coming or going. It was up to me to find the info. I do well to turn a computer on, much less “go to a website and retrieve information.” Finally, I found it. Actually, it wasn’t much of a surprise. I had been told all my life that the Kennedys were Irish with some Scottish blood mixed in. Well, seems there is a bit more Scottish than Irish in my blood. The most surprising of all is, I am more English than anything else. That is probably because of my Hughes bloodline. My actual results are: 42 percent English, 23 percent Scotch, 15 percent Irish, and 8 percent Wales. That leaves 12 percent that I’ve still got to find out about. According to my Grandpa Kennedy, because his mother was a Bolin, we are descendants of Pocahontas. Or, as Pop Kennedy called her, “That famous Indian woman.” He was quite proud of that American Indian blood.
Pocahontas may be lurking in that 12 percent that I still haven’t found. Or, it could be there is no Native American blood there at all. I have always been honored to think I had it. It is a proud heritage. I’m not saying I do and I’m not saying I don’t. At least not yet. It’s not like I’m running for office or trying to get a break on college tuition because of my bloodline. We all know what happened to one of the presidential candidates back a while ago.
She claimed she was practically a first cousin to Native Americans; almost the head of a tribal council, one might say. Well, she did her DNA and, despite her “high cheek bones” that she used as her measuring stick, her bloodline just didn’t pan out. It could be she didn’t read the instructions that came with her kit. Perhaps she didn’t spit in her test tube enough. It had to be filled to the top, you know. Sometimes it pays to follow the rules.
LaVale Mills is Publisher Emeritus of The Red Bay News.