Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Festival of Postcards -- Quadrupeds!

Here are some more postcards from the Andrew Lewis Rhodes collection. What do quadrupeds have to do with genealogy?

Well, some of them may spark family stories . . .

Like this old (1930s or 1940s) photo of a deer at the "United States Government Game Preserve, Okefenokee Swamp, Southern Georgia." My husband's father was traveling for his job with Western Electric (a subsidiary of Southern Bell, in those days, the early 1950s), and on his return trip home, on a narrow road in rural Georgia, he hit a deer. It made quite an impression on the grille of the car, and unfortunately on the radiator. My father-in-law was stopped and alone. Eventually a good old boy came along and offered to help get my father-in-law to town for repairs -- as soon as he finished butchering the deer. He told my father-in-law they had to gather some "meeta fans." My father-in-law was totally baffled, until the old boy elaborated: "Pal-meeta fans," and then my father-in-law understood that he meant palmetto fans, the very large fanlike leaves of the palmetto plant, which grows all over the place in Georgia and Florida, and most of the rest of the lower south. The fellow butchered the deer, wrapped the meat in the "meeta fans," and gave some to my father-in-law. Then he hooked up the car to his pickup truck and towed it into town.

I don't like deer -- they come out of the state forest that forms our back yard, and eat all of my plants, ornamental and edible. I had a good garden the first few years we lived here, but the deer soon found it and ate everything down to the ground. So I don't like deer. However, our younger daughter announced this evening that a co-worker of hers whose husband hunts has a surplus of venison, and we might be getting some. I don't think it will come wrapped in "meeta fans." I might learn to like deer, after all!

Other quadrupeds, like these horses at Miami's Hialeah race track, could spark other family stories -- about black sheep, who may have gambled away the family's substance betting on the ponies! Or there could be a jockey in the family tree, with stories about races won and lost, horses loved and loathed. Or there may have been a family member who just loved watching the horses run, like a friend of mine does. Or maybe even someone in the Ocala, Florida, area who worked with the race horses raised there, or even owned them.

Other family stories may center around vacations, such as those my husband's family spent in North Carolina, where these bears formed a "happy native family in the Great Smoky Mountains." In the summer in North Carolina, you will see a lot of Florida license plates (and in the winter, you see North Carolina plates down here!). Of course, North Carolina is not the only place you see bears. There are some folks in suburbs in Florida who have stories of finding bears in the trees in their yards (and some with stories of alligators in their swimming pools!) Recently, there was a story about a woman who woke up to find a bear in her bedroom! That delighted us, as it gave new meaning to the title of one of my grandson's Leap Pad books -- One Bear in the Bedroom!

Finally, here is a delightful humorous postcard probably from the 1940s, which gets to the very root and wellspring of genealogy. After all, we descendants are what resulted when our ancestors monkeyed around!

The Festival of Postcards is hosted by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault at her blog, A Canadian Family. Drop by and see other entries in this fun festival.

She's even got me adding to my husband's grandfather's collection!

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