Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Clan and kin


"I don't know why -- it's just that -- I don't know -- they're not kin."

Surprising word, I think to myself, never used it before. Not of kin -- sounds like hillbilly talk -- not of a kind -- same root -- kindness, too -- they can't have real kindness toward him, they're not his kin. That's exactly the feeling.

Old word, so ancient it's almost drowned out. What a change through the centuries. Now anybody can be "kind." And everybody's supposed to be. Except that long ago it was something you were born into and couldn't help. Now it's just a faked-up attitude half the time, like teachers the first day of class. But what do they really know about kindness who are not kin? -
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorycle Maintenance.

***

Peg's cousin Charlie (seated in the center) was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. For his birthday last month he asked for his family to get together, and we did at an outdoor party at Charlie and Ellen's home. It was a good turn-out, with a heavy concentration of Mayos, as there should be.

There are four generations in this photo, from Sadie at the far right, seated on her grandson, Robbie's knee, to Jordan at right center, Sadie's great-grandaughter being held by one of Charlie and Ellen's daughters, Katherine.

I was thinking after we received a copy of the photo from Ellen that large family group portraits are something that isn't done very much anymore, and more's the pity that it isn't.

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