Thursday, April 26, 2012

Who The Hell is Matthew J. Elder?

"Y'all are the cousins from New York?"
"Yes Ma'am."
"Good. Take some hambiscuits."
         That's right folks, this post is going down to Virginia.

Though I grew up in Virginia, I still manage to take New York City for granted. It's just like any other little neighborhood. Spending time with distant relatives and my grandparents' neighbors reminded me that I do live in that city where dreams are made. One great aunt told me me,

"You either go to New York City and sing or you stay home and have babies."
 (Though that's also the beginning of a testament to singlehood that we will have to touch on some other time).

Now, I come from a part of Virginia with plenty of shopping malls and fast food joints, but my grandparents are from an area where a trip to WalMart takes an entire day.  A place where banana pudding and fried chicken are on every potluck menu. A place where you can walk across the field to the corner store and buy strawberry candies for 5 cents.

It is this part of Virginia where a spent the last week. And this trip was exactly what I needed to get back in touch with my roots. In fact, I discovered one root that I didn't even know existed.

That would be one Matthew J. Elder. Now apparently, Matthew J. Elder is an infamous ancestor. He's kind of a big deal. His stories have been passed down from generation to generation, but somehow missed on particular household.

So sitting in a room with dozens of cousins and kin, my siblings and I were regaled with the tale of Matthew J. Elder. Now, exactly what does a story look like when it's told by a room full of cousins.
Well, I might suspect something like this:

So, Matthew J. Elder was traversing a swamp when -  
                    Wait, no. It was a creek.
                                              Cub Creek.
So Matthew J. was walking through Cub Creek -
                         He was on a horse. He was riding horse through Cub Creek
                        and he got stuck in quicksand so he grabbed a tree branch-
         No. No. There's no quicksand in Virginia. It was quickmud.
                                             What the hell is quickmud?
So Matthew J. gets stuck in quickmud and -
          There's no such thing as quickmud. You're making that up.
                           Nah,y'all. It wasn't quick anything it was a storm.
 So Matthew J. starts to get washed away by the storm in the creek, so he grabs a tree branch and says-
                    What about the horse?
     There wasn't a horse. It was just Matthew J. and he says, "Lord-"
                                                   There was definitely a horse.
 The horse was in the swamp. He lost the horse in the swamp.
                 That wasn't Matthew J. that was someone else.
 So Matthew J. grabs the tree branch and says,

"Lord, I'm not just any damn Elder, I'm Matthew J. Elder."

              Wait. That's it? That's the story? So was there a horse or not?

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