Sunday, February 15, 2015


Well, we are now deep in the middle of Valentine’s Day weekend—Presidents’ Day, if you want to get technical, but who spends the greater part of this weekend focused on Presidents?

Those of us who had the brilliant idea of arranging their marriage to coincide with Valentine’s Day may have, at one point, patted ourselves on the back for the two-fer maneuver—until we tried to escape town for subsequent re-enactments of the occasion. Anniversary trips on this three day weekend don’t come cheap. Nor secluded.

No romantic getaway for us, this weekend. We’ve postponed our good intentions for a more convenient time when we can really wander the shoreline in seclusion somewhere. We settled for dinner in town, dessert and coffee at home and a nice quiet evening. A beautiful bouquet of roses will do as much to remind us of our special weekend as would any out-of-town extravaganza.

And one more thing: we did exchange gifts.

While I am so grateful for the gift I received this weekend, I did have to laugh at the thought of it. I’ve heard people talk about “golf widows”—those poor women left all alone while their husbands, consumed with the game, play just one more round. Again.

I suppose the same could be said for women left behind while their husbands go on extended hunting trips in Wyoming, or Alaska. Or, forget that—how about big game in Africa?

But I never gave that dynamic any thought until my husband—the one called upon to serve as emcee for our genealogical society’s annual dinner event—got on a roll with some of his genealogy husband jokes. Judging from the guffaws coming from his audience, he had plenty of company in his genealogical martyrdom.

Granted, I do spend a lot of time on my research. There is so much yet to do. Not that I have this mandate to get back to Adam or anything. But there is always just a little bit more to find. A little bit more to read. A little bit more…

It never dawned on me that there might be such a thing as a genealogy widower. When it comes right down to it, though, I have to admit I’m smitten: I’ve been bitten by the genealogy bug. And my genealogy-widower husband found just the perfect way to say, “I love you.” He bought me a book. A genealogy book.

Not just any book, mind you. My husband was perceptive in isolating the perfect specimen. A while back, when I began this current pursuit of my Broyles line—the one inter-marrying with the Taliaferro family—I had discovered a volume originally published in 1913. Written by Richard Wright Simpson—actually, a distant relative of mine—it is a volume of just the right blend of local history and genealogy.

The book, History of Old Pendleton District, provides a narrative of the early days of what now spans both Pendleton and Anderson counties in South Carolina. While I could obtain the text via digitized versions on sites such as Internet Archive, I was glad to see the book is still available—albeit in reprint format—for sale now. While I’m ecstatic about what can be accessed online, thanks to the push to preserve these old tokens of our heritage, there is nothing like holding a book in your hands, settling into a cozy chair, and reading.

The Love of My Life knows that. He can identify with that. There is nothing like a book. Both of us have large collections of publications on our favorite topics. Though he may not be keen on the many hours of research I’ve put in—he is, after all, a genealogy widower, himself—he does reap some of the benefits in the fascinating details I’ve been able to unearth about a few branches of his own family. And, to his credit, he is a very patient man.

And discerning. After all, how many husbands bought their wives a gift like that for their Valentine’s weekend?!


  1. Happy Anniversary on this LOVEly weekend! It sounds like he knows you well and could pick the perfect I am wondering what you gave him? I can only imagine the genealogy jokes....since he does public speaking I am certain he was a great mc :)

    1. He is a great emcee, Far Side. And he does love a good joke.

      I'm afraid I'm not quite the stellar gift giver that he is, though. My gift turned out to be much more practical: a dress shirt.

      But let me add: it has a special significance. When we were in Ireland, he had found a tie with a design based on actual artwork from the Book of Kells. Coupled with a wool vest he bought near Blarney Castle, it's become his favorite outfit since returning home...except it doesn't exactly set well with a plain white dress shirt. So I found a cream colored shirt that works well with the colors in the tie. If I say so myself, he looks great!


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