You are very special. Yes, I do mean you. And, with all modesty aside, so am I. And so are each and every one of us.
Let me explain what I’m talking about.
Earlier this week Mary and I went to the annual pot luck supper and show-and-tell held by the Natchitoches Genealogical and Historical Association. We all bring eats then show our own little historic objects and/or papers and talk about our ancestors.
And that got me to thinking what an amazing thing it is that any of us were born. And the fact that we were, makes us so special. Many of us will agree that we are all part of God’s plan and that we were always meant to be born. But, even so, the whole thing is still rather astounding.
Because the odds of all our thousands and thousands of ancestors getting together at just the right time seem beyond astronomical. I’m sure we can all come up with stories of chance or unusual meetings of our ancestors in recent generations. So just think of the fact that everything had to go just right all back through the ages. Because if just one of our ancestor couples had not gotten together, we would not be here.
Let me come up with a hypothetical situation. Let’s say that back in 1452 in France one of my grandfathers was about to set out on a sea voyage to attack England. (This was just when the Hundred Years War was about to end.) But grandfather Pierre drops a cannon ball on his foot, misses his ship and is nursed back to health by the inn keeper’s daughter, whom he shortly marries. So if grandpere hadn’t dropped the darned cannon ball, I wouldn’t be here.
I don’t have to look back into the unknown past to find such close calls that would have left me unborn. My great-grandfather John Baker, who fought with the 10th Missouri Confederate Infantry, was in Shreveport at the end of the Civil War. Most of his regiment took steamboats down the Red River and then returned to Missouri up the Mississippi.
For some reason, grandfather John missed the boat (just like my made up French ancestor!) and instead he walked or rode across northern Louisiana, obviously heading for the Mississippi River to catch a ride home.
Well, when he got to Morehouse Parish, he met a lass named Mary Ann McCord and he never got past good old Morehouse Parish. Their daughter, Maude Baker, happened to marry a new young doctor in the area, one Joseph W. Darby Sr. They are my paternal grandparents. Unfortunately both passed away before I was born.
My own mother and father met on a blind date for the 1927 LSU-Tulane football game. Suppose one of them had been sick!
Mary has another near miss story as well. Her great-grandfather was out riding the streets of New Orleans in his surrey wagon in the 1890s when he spotted a pretty girl sitting on the steps of a convent home for girls. The rest, obviously, is history. But suppose the lass had chosen to hang out around the rear of the convent that day or, feeling under the weather, stayed in her room?
So, our fate has been shaped over generation after generation of such instances, going back to the beginning.
I think this is fun to think about. I bet you have some good near-miss stories of your own. Happy genealogy to you all!