Chicken Soup, Family Trees & Murder

The other day, Paul was browsing some ancestry sites online. I told him I’d been thinking about doing that too. I asked him, “Wouldn’t it be cool if at least one of my ancestors were a murderer?” Paul went back to his computer as though he were alone, which is sensible.

I had a cold yesterday, so I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself. When I’m sick, I’m a big fat baby about it, and I offer no remorse. (If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve been warned about segues that may cause hernias.)

My cousin Lesli offered some comforting thoughts, mostly to drown out the whining. (Lesli is known in Italian as a cugina fantastica – fantastic cousin, female persuasion*) Some people offer fatuous well wishes and soup, but she knew that wasn’t going to cut it. So she told me a couple of stories about our family history.

The first story was about why a pack of Valleleys emigrated from Italy in 1903 and ended up Protestants. I mean, we’re talking Italy here, a country in which, by law, you must be Catholic or be crucified. Maybe burned at the stake. I might be confusing this with the Salem Witch Trials.

Seems the Valleleys were happily attending a Catholic parish in some US state when an Irish priest walked in the door.** He tried his best to bring the Lord to his parishioners as he struggled to hide his contempt for Italians.

Every service he mustered all of his compassion, but his sermons always started the same way:

Priest: “O, Lord, how we hate the fuckin’ dagos.”

Most of the people: “Let us show them the door.”

Priest: “Damn skippy, dudes.”

Or something like that. I paraphrase.

So about ten families joined the Protestant church down the street. This guy was so abusive that they left an entire religion, not just the building. Impressive. I love this story because it helps explain why my Irish/Italian blood is on a constant raging boil. Perhaps also why I don’t go to church.

Lesli’s second story makes me so happy that I probably should go back into therapy.

Our great-grandfather (whose name we don’t know, but let’s call him “Grandpa Badass”) was a caretaker for some guy in Italy about a hundred years ago. Someone was stealing from Grandpa B’s boss, and when Grandpa couldn’t get the guy to stop, he shot and killed him.

That’s so fucking great.

Then GB had to move to America because the freakin’ mafia started hunting him.

Actual picture of Grandpa Badass’s would-be killers. Or I just wish it were. This. Is. Awesome.

Then Grandpa had to keep moving from state to state ‘cause these maniacally dedicated goombahs followed him here. They were that pissed off.

At this point, I’ve wet my pants and forgotten my cold.

Love can be expressed in many forms – chicken soup, comforting words, a warm blanket. But the best way to show you care is to tell me I’m the descendant of an easily annoyed murderer.

Thanks, Lesli.


* If you know Italian and I’m incorrect, don’t be a smartass. Who asked you?

** I swear there’s a “So this Irish priest walks into a bar” joke here somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s