20 January 2011

Townsend's Wedding


A good time ago I came to spot and said, “Here I will stand.” For me, and for my family, your wedding marks a new time. Two people, two families, and many strands, being interwoven, in the manner of The Spirit, who sustains and blesses us all.
I want to welcome my nephew Micah Collins and fiancé Vanessa Carrión. Thank you for traveling to celebrate T & J’s wedding. I'm honored you've given time and expense to attend.
This is a providential occasion. It’s not often my kinfolk gather; we’re widely sown now. Though secular culture makes little of it, families have roots, lineage, and histories. The people of the roots make choices and take on responsibilities. The consequences of their choices create histories; these choices and their responsibilities create a real difference in each one of us and in our family’s lives.
The Collins/Savage birth family is diverse, motley, educated, and peripatetic. All of us in Townsend’s family are from somewhere else. I moved to Tennessee. But on the whole, thank you, no, I’d rather stay in one place.
Townsend’s maternal family hails from North Carolina. Townsend’s mother’s paternal family, nee Townsend, is from New York City and Columbia County, NY State. This line immigrated into late 17th century Long Island and 18th century NYC; it has a recent 19th century Spanish strand woven in.
My father’s line is Irish, of County Clare, in Kilrush, on the southwestern sea coast; born taletellers, yarn spinners, whiskey partiers, and yakkers; a people of enormous physical and mental vitality who mostly ended up in Hartford, Connecticut.
My mother’s family, Savage, is English-Scotch-Irish; her people were farm people. My grandfather was a farmer; he raised chickens, apples, and farm produce. In Tennessee he’d-a-been country, in New England, a yeoman. I recall his roadside stand where he sold his produce. He delivered eggs to customers who knew him as “the egg-man.” In our family cemetery 300 years of Townsend’s’ ancestors are buried.
Townsend’s aunt, Micah’s mother, is Korean. Townsend’s uncle, my sister Tara’s husband, is Russian. Townsend’s stepfather Sam, his brother Bashir and Bashir’s wife, in whose home we are guests, are Jordanian, newly immigrated from the land of their people. My wife Angela is Appalachian; her people, Livesay and Rains, are from the region of the Cumberland Gap and southeastern KY; no tellin’ from before that, but probably early immigrant Scotch-Irish border-landers. Early immigrants to the Appalachia do not speak of lineage.
Townsend’s kinfolk transect all cultural, geographical, social, economic, and religious boundaries. All our kinship, Jennifer, now a part of yours too, is deeply American.
I look to the future, for a continued line and a new house, for all our families. I hope it continues to reflect and speak to the breadth and generosity of The Spirit, which I feel, in all our houses.