“A Single Piece of Paper,” Friend, Jan. 1993, 43
A pedigree chart! I knew that horses, dogs, and maybe even cats had pedigrees, but here was Sister Jones handing out pedigree charts for us to take home and fill out. Now I had heard everything!
I folded the paper and quickly thrust it into my pocket. Mom and Dad were always busy working and probably wouldn’t even have time to look at it, but Sister Jones had said that it was very important to know who our ancestors were. Well, I’d try my best. After we all filled out our charts, she was going to take us to the family history library for a tour. And after that, we were going for ice cream! I love ice cream.
Opening the gate, I ran up the stairs, waving the paper, exclaiming, “Mom, Dad, look what I got in church today!”
Dad lowered the volume on the television. He’s a great sports fan and never misses his games. That’s why he doesn’t get to church very often—the meetings are at the same time as the games.
“See, Dad, it’s a pedigree chart. Sister Jones says it’s important to find out about our families—where they lived, and when, and anything interesting we can find out about them, like the stories Grandad tells us.”
Mom came through the back door just then, smiling and brushing dirt from her knees. She had been planting new flowers. She loves working in her garden. Dad said that our home was a showplace because of the flowers blooming everywhere. Sunday was the only day Mom had to tend to her garden. She wished she had more time for church—maybe one day she would, and then she’d go, she said.
We sat on the porch steps while I explained my assignment to fill in the pedigree chart. To my surprise, Mom and Dad both began helping me, and we had a grand time!
Mom told me how her grandparents had come across the Atlantic Ocean when they left Sweden to come to America. The ship they were sailing on almost went down in a sudden, violent storm. How thankful they were to reach land and begin their new lives.
Dad’s grandparents had lived in a tiny log cabin in Kentucky. They became friends with the Indians, who helped them through the first cold, bitter winter.
The more they remembered, the more excited they became. They got out the old picture album, which had pictures of stern-looking men—some with curly mustaches—often holding canes and wearing hats, and women in long dresses, some holding fat little babies and surrounded by children. We were having such a good time that Dad even forgot his football game! And instead of going back out to her flowers, Mom began writing letters to her sisters and brothers for any information they had about their ancestors.
The next Sunday I could hardly wait to show Sister Jones my pedigree chart. And Mom had given me a note saying that she’d so enjoyed filling out the sheet that she wanted to help take our class to the library.
That afternoon, Dad phoned his mother in Kentucky, and they talked and talked about his family. Do you know—Dad’s great-grandfather had known Brigham Young!
That was just the beginning. We’re now planning a huge family reunion this summer with aunts, uncles, and cousins of all ages and sizes coming from all over. Dad says that there may be even a hundred! I can hardly wait to meet so many of my family.
Oh yes—I overheard Mom and Dad talking the other day, and miracle of miracles, they’re going to start coming to church with me. They said, “It’s about time to get our priorities in place.” Now, I’m not sure what “priorities” are, but I am sure that we’ll have plenty of room for them. And to think it all started with that single piece of paper!