The Phillips Family is not that Close

This is what my dad keeps telling me as I attempt to straighten out who was related to whom and why. Even this summer, when I went around looking at the graves of our dead ancestors, he wasn’t interested in going. I think I told y’all the bizarre experience of going to the graves of my dad’s grandma and grandpa who are buried right in Battle Creek, in a cemetery right by the main road. Once you know it’s there, you can see it from about any angle when you drive by. And yet, until I was 37, I never even knew it was there.

So, I certainly got the message that he wasn’t interested in all this genealogy crap, but what can I do? He’s the oldest Phillips I know who has to take my calls.

But I think back when I told him all about the ministers in his family tree and he said that strange thing about maybe being sent here repeatedly until he got it right, I kind of got an inkling that this meant more to him than he was letting on.

Then, weirdly enough, when I told him about his Salem Witch Trial ancestor, it was like some kind of light went on for him. I recognized it. I’ve been having the same weird experience–that feeling that those weren’t just stories in history class but family stories.

So, I’m glad he’s enjoying it. I know it’s been incredibly meaningful for me to have stories about our family that aren’t just “And so and so acted like a giant asshole in these seven ways you can’t expect a kid to ever get past, which caused that kid to grow up and act like an asshole in these seven ways that are different than the seven ways that were done to him, but still not great.” And I hope he’s getting that out of it, too, to some extent.