Genealogy is my pastime; I shall not stray.
It maketh me to lie down and examine half-buried tombstones;
It leadeth me into still courthouses.
It restoreth my ancestral knowledge...It leadeth me into the paths of census records and ship passenger lists for my Surnames' sake.
Yea, though I wade through the shadows of research libraries and microfilm readers, I shall fear no discouragement, for a strong urge is with me.
The curiosity and motivation, they comfort me.
It demandeth preparation of storage space; for the acquisition of countless documents.
It annointeth my head with burning, midnight oil;
My family group sheets runneth over.
Surely, birth, marriage and death record dates shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of the Family History Seeker forever.....
"This book is dedicated to the more than 1,000 members of the Hilts, Dunne, Magee, Bonn and Worth Families of the past who have given my wife and myself so much enjoyment by lurking deep in old records, hiding behind rolls of microfilm, peeking out of old newspapers, and by being generally elusive.
They have made it a challenge, never once giving in easily or making the hunt too simple. Sly, wily, sometimes downright sneaky, they have changed their names, died in the wrong places, given all their children identical names, traveled without leaving tracks, married persons of the same name, changed occupations in mid-life, spelled their names 27 different ways, stayed away from home during censuses, lied about their ages, and have done about everything possible to confound those who would seek to collect them in a family tree."
|*||Home is where you hang your @|
|*||The E-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail.|
|*||A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.|
|*||You can't teach a new mouse old clicks.|
|*||Great groups from little icons grow.|
|*||Speak softly and carry a cellular phone.|
|*||C:\ is the root of all directories.|
|*||Don't put all your hypes in one home page.|
|*||Pentium wise; pen and paper foolish.|
|*||The modem is the message.|
|*||Too many clicks spoil the browse.|
|*||The geek shall inherit the earth.|
|*||A chat has nine lives.|
|*||Don't byte off more than you can view.|
|*||Fax is stranger than fiction.|
|*||What boots up must come down.|
|*||Windows will never cease.|
|*||In Gates we trust.|
|*||Virtual reality is its own reward.|
|*||Modulation in all things.|
|*||A user and his leisure time are soon parted.|
|*||There's no place like http://www.home.com|
|*||Know what to expect before you connect.|
|*||Oh, what a tangled website we weave when first we practice.|
|*||Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks.|
|Adults:||Group of people Mum longs to communicate with after several hours of talking in small words about topics like "who touched who first."|
|Airplane:||What Mum impersonates to get a 1-yr.-old to eat strained beets.|
|Alien:||What Mum would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself.|
|Apple:||Nutritious lunchtime dessert which children will trade for cupcakes.|
|Baby:||1. Dad, when he gets a cold.|
2. Mom's youngest child, even if he's 42.
|Bathroom:||A room used by the entire family, believed by all except Mom to be self-cleaning.|
|Because:||Mum's reason for having kids do things which can't be explained logically.|
|Bed and Breakfast:||Two things the kids will never make for themselves.|
|Carpet:||Expensive floor covering used to catch spills and clean mud off shoes.|
|Car Pool:||Complicated system of transportation where Mom always winds up going the furthest with the biggest bunch of kids who have had the most sugar.|
|China:||Legendary nation reportedly populated by children who love leftover vegetables.|
|Cook:||1. Act of preparing food for consumption.|
2. Mom's other name.
|Couch Potato:||What Mum finds under the sofa cushions after the kids eat dinner.|
|Date:||Infrequent outings with Dad where Mum can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting.|
|Drinking Glass:||Any carton or bottle left open in the fridge.|
|Dust:||Insidious interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone.|
|Dust Rags:||See "Dad's Underwear."|
|Ear:||A place where kids store dirt.|
|Eat:||What kids do between meals, but not at them.|
|Empty Nest:||See "Wishful Thinking."|
|Energy:||Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something.|
|"Excuse Me":||One of Mum's favorite phrases, reportedly used in past times by children.|
|Eye:||The highly susceptible optic nerve which, according to Mom, can be "put out" by anything from a suction-arrow to a carelessly handled butter knife.|
|Fable:||A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew.|
|Food:||The response Mum usually gives in answer to the question "What's for dinner tonight?" See "Sarcasm".|
|Frozen:||1. A type of food.|
2. How hell will be when Mum lets her daughter date an older guy with a motorcycle.
|Garbage:||A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mom assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself.|
|Geniuses:||Amazingly, all of Mum's kids.|
|Gum:||Adhesive for the hair.|
|Hamper:||A wicker container with a lid, usually surrounded by, but not containing, dirty clothing.|
|Handi-Wipes:||Pants, shirt-sleeves, drapes, etc.|
|Hands:||Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal.|
|Hindsight:||What Mum experiences from changing too many diapers.|
|Homemade Bread:||An object of fiction like the Fountain of Youth and the Golden Fleece.|
|Ice:||Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty.|
|Inside:||That place that will suddenly look attractive to kids once Mom has spent a minimum of half an hour getting them ready to go outside.|
|"I Said So":||Reason enough, according to Mum.|
|Jackpot:||When all the kids stay at friends' homes for the night.|
|Jeans:||Which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals.|
|"Jeeeeeeeez!":||Slang for "Gee Mum, isn't there anything else you can do to embarrass me in front of my friends?"|
|Joy Ride:||Going somewhere without the kids.|
|Ketchup:||The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mom spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right.|
|Lake:||Large body of water into which a kid will jump should his friends do so.|
|Lemonade Stand:||Complicated business venture where Mum buys powdered mix, sugar, lemons, and paper cups, and sets up a table, chairs, pitchers and ice for kids who sit there for three to six minutes and net a profit of 15 cents.|
|Lie:||An "exaggeration" Mum uses to transform her child's paper-mache volcano science project into a Nobel Prize-winning experiment and a full-ride scholarship to Harvard.|
|Losers:||See "Kids' Friends."|
|Makeup:||Lipstick, eyeliner, blush, etc. which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look "like a tramp."|
|Milk:||A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it's turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa.|
|"Mommmmmmmm!":||The cry of a child on another floor who wants something.|
|Mush:||1. What a kid loves to do with a plateful of food.|
2. Main element of Mum's favorite movies.
|Nails:||A hard covering on the end of the finger, which Mom can never have a full set of due to pitching for batting practice, opening stubborn modeling clay lids and removing heat ducts to retrieve army men and/or doll clothing.|
|Panic:||What a mother goes thru when the darn wind-up swing stops.|
|Ocean:||What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals.|
|Open:||The position of children's mouths when they eat in front of company.|
|Overstuffed Recliner:||Mum's nickname for Dad.|
|Penitentiary:||Where children who don't eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mum.|
|Pets:||Small, furry creatures which follow kids home so Mom will have someone else to clean up after.|
|Piano:||A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mum, kids will refuse to play in front of company.|
|Purse:||A handbag in which Mum carries the checkbook and keys she can never find because they're buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddy bear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list and several outdated coupons.|
|Quiet:||A state of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and occurs again after the last child has left for college.|
|Raincoat:||Article of clothing Mum bought to keep a child dry and warm, rendered ineffective because it's in the bottom of a locker stuffed in a book bag or because the child refuses to wear "the geeky thing".|
|Refrigerator:||Combination art gallery and air-conditioner for the kitchen.|
|Room Mother:||A position of great honor and responsibility bestowed on a mom who inadvertently misses a PTA meeting.|
|School Play:||Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse reenactments of famous historic events.|
|Screaming:||Home P.A. system.|
|Snowsuits:||Warm, padded outer garments that, when completely zipped and snapped perform two important functions: Protecting children from the cold and reminding them that they have to go to the bathroom.|
|Soap:||A cleaning agent Mum puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel.|
|Spit:||All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids' faces.|
|Spoiled Rotten:||What the kids become after as little as 15 minutes with Grandma.|
|Sweater:||Magically charmed article of clothing that can ward away colds, and even pneumonia.|
|Sunday Best:||Attractive, expensive children's clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice.|
|Teacher Conference:||A meeting between Mum and that person who has yet to understand her child's "special needs."|
|Terrible Two's:||Having both kids at home all summer.|
|"That Way":||How kids shouldn't look at moms if they know What's good for them. Also applies to how they talk.|
|Towels:||See "Floor Coverings".|
|Tramp:||A woman with two kids and no stretch marks.|
|Trouble:||Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in.|
|Umpteenth:||Highly conservative estimate of the number of times Mom must instruct her offspring to do something before it actually gets done.|
|Underwear:||An article of clothing, the cleanliness of which ensures the wearer will never have an accident.|
|Utopia:||See "Bubble Bath".|
|Vacation:||Where you take the family to get away from it all, only to find it there, too.|
|Vitamins:||Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mum forces you to swallow each morning as part of her sinister plot to have you grow up to be "Just like Daddy."|
|Walls:||Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with every room.|
|Washing Machine:||Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues and wads of gum.|
|"When Your Father
|Standard measurement of time between crime and punishment.|
|XOXOXOXO:||Mum salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid's lunch box even more mortifying.|
|Xylophone:||Small toy musical instrument often given as gifts to children who show their appreciation by playing the stupid thing constantly, over and over, all day long. See also "Drums".|
|Yard Sale:||Heart-wrenching emotional process wherein Mom plans to sell kids' outdated toys and clothing that she decides at the last minute are treasured mementos she can't bear to part with.|
|"Yippee!":||What Mum would jump up and shout if the school year was changed to 12 months. See also "Yahoo!"|
|Zillion:||Amount of times Mum must have gone to the supermarket already this week.|
|Zucchini:||Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.|
|*||The Magna Carta ensured that no free man could be hanged twice for the same offence.|
|*||Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world and did it with a 100 foot clipper.|
|*||History's mysteries are those of the past|
Present intriques seem worse, and are vast
But before you condemn
This generation, pro tem
Remember, you're also one of the cast.
|*||Napoleon came home tired and weary, wet and wounded, and went straight
round to Josephine's flat. He was shocked to find a pair of large gumboots
on her front doorstep.|
"Josephine! Josephine!" he called out. "What are those rubber boots doing out here?"
"They're not rubber boots," said Josie. "They're Wellington's."
"Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
"What sort of trouble?"
"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
"How do I tell?"
"Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?"
"What's a sea-prompt?"
"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
"There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
"What's a monitor?"
"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
"I don't know."
"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
......."Yes, I think so."
"Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
......."Yes, it is."
"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
......."Okay, here it is."
"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can't reach."
"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
"Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
"Well, turn on the office light then."
"No? Why not?"
"Because there's a power outage."
"A power... A power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
"Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
"Really? Is it that bad?"
"Yes, I'm afraid it is."
"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."
E-mail contributions to Rob Nelson.
Nov 1, 2001