We southerners love us some Mason jars. We pickle things in them, create delightful gelatinous sugary substances in them, and my grandmother used to "put up" fresh vegetables from her garden in them. Lots of us will drink iced tea in them, though I've never been a fan. Mostly because the ridged surface is an irritant to my lower lip, and no matter how many packages of straws I buy I can never locate one when I need it.
So I was already feeling all super-southern with my Mason jar sippy cup full of iced water enhanced with some fresh fruit, when my sister starts firing off texts about how we are related to our people. We come from a mighty big clan of folks from West Tennessee (The Williams' -- maybe y'all're related to us?!), so this situation gets confusing real quick.
Mim: Is Linsey Dean our first cousin once removed?
Me: Second cousin. Granny was dad and Kim's grandmother, and is ours and Lins' great-grandmother.
Mim: What is Kim?
Me: Our first cousin once removed.
Mim: Then why isn't Lins twice removed?
Me: Because we are the same generation. We can't be removed.
Mim: So second gen = 2nd cuz?
Me: Yes. And our kids and Linsey's will be third cousins, but Linsey and Mallory are second cousins once removed.
Mim: I'm trying to figure out Brent. His grandfather is the brother of our great-grandfather.
At this point I just called her. Because I know Brent and I are related, cousins of some nature (I mean I have known him since I was born, see him at least once a year at the family reunion), but beyond that precisely how it all works out is beyond my scope. Which means it's time to whip out a piece of paper.
(Also, I was starting to feel like I was reading the begats section in the Bible. You know, "Abraham begat Issac, and Issac begat Jacob ..." which is obviously important, yet confusing and perhaps not the most captivating reading. I hope I don't get struck by lightning later today.)
So we straightened out Brent's relationship to us (he's our second cousin, once removed. Because Tommy begat Linda Faye, and she begat Brent ....) and my sister said "you should totally teach a workshop on how to do this!"
Then we decided that sometimes, in the south, it's better to just stick with "yeah, I think we're fourth cousins or something." Because heaven only knows who you might have to claim as your people if you really start scrutinizing your family tree.
Just a guess, but I wonder if the term "ignorance is bliss" was coined around a situation where some Hilly Holbrook-type started poking around her family tree, only to discover General William Tecumseh Sherman was her third cousin twice removed.
On the other hand, Justin Timberlake is from Millington, which is really just a short drive from ... I'm just saying, it's not out of the realm of possibilities.
And yes, I promise that's just water in my sippy cup.
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