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Senior Lifestyles

'Welcome to the club!': Poet travels back to the future

Courtesy of Bob Simon
Bob Simon’s maternal grandfather, Robert Andrew Walker

Genealogy has come in for its fair share of artistic kibitzing over the years. I seem to recall not one, but two Norman Rockwell covers for “The Saturday Evening Post” that were family trees complete with brigands of one sort or another. The artist, as was his wont, was painting with tongue in cheek. Those covers were no doubt apt for a family magazine of the day (family tree, family magazine).

Even more appropriate, it struck me at the turn of this century, would be a wedding toast based on genealogy. The result appears below. First recited at a wedding rehearsal dinner in 2000, my poem invites the bride and groom to join a not-so-exclusive group.

Future Ancestors’ Club

An Invitation

My resident genealogist

Helps set the record straight

By searching courthouse, tome, and tomb

To nail each fateful date

She annotates each birth and marriage

Each precious fact of life

So future generations will

With ancestors be rife

She’s even taken to the Web

In her relentless quest

To catalog our great-great-greats

’Tho ere long laid to rest

It strikes me that these fond forebears

To merit such exhuming

Had to exercise – and exercise –

Productive bill and cooing

You see, where there’s no pitter-patting

Offspring to reward you

No self-fulfilling progeny

Will be there to record you

If you would be an ancestor

You must do your part!

To join our sacred order

You must exert your heart

(If you would raise the birthrate

You must increase your heart rate)

So, be prepared to practice –

And practice – every night

To turn an age-old ritual

Into a perfect rite ...

Initiation time is here

And soul-mates we thee dub

You can’t resist this call to arms

Welcome to the club!

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