Thursday, August 08, 2002

I bet my family beats your family. If we're talking numbers, that is.

You see my parents both grew up on farms in Iowa, not 15 miles from one another, born at a time - 1934 - when it still made sense for farmers to grow their own farmhands. And so my mother has three sisters and six brothers. And my father has three sisters and six brothers. Which makes 18 aunts and uncles who are blood relations.

Then, each of these aunts and uncles got married at some point, which means that I have 36 aunts and uncles. Well, had 36 aunts and uncles; the number is dwindling, sadly, inevitably. And then each of my aunts' and uncles' families consists of an average of 4.27 children. Which means I have 77 first cousins. There are cousins who are opera singers, cousins who are preachers, cousins who are mayors and cousins who are garbage men. There are cousins who home-school their children (and shouldn't!) and cousins who are ex-cons. There is even at least one cousin who is a fellow avowed homosexualist (he's had kind of a tough time of it, though, poor guy.)

As for the next generation, I couldn't begin to count. We're talking more students than attended my junior high school. We're talking the population of a small town. Hundreds and hundreds. And we're not even Catholic.

I'd make a crack about whether this fecundity has any relation to improper use of prophylactics and low intelligence quotients, but I've recently learned that my parents read these pages and I don't want to offend anyone.

The Swedish word for the day is kaniner. It means rabbits.

- by Francis S.

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