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Utah, United States
One night while tucking Abby into bed she sweetly chimed, "good night! Sleep tight! Don't let the bed bites bug you!" I like her thinking. Sometimes life bites. The trick is to not let it bug you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Gran and Granda Nicol
I spend a lot of time thinking about my heritage. I don't know if everyone thinks about theirs as much as I think about mine, but it is pretty constant for me.

Grandpa and Grandma Judkins
I think a lot about the dusty, tired Mormon pioneers when I have spent 15 minutes weeding, and I tell myself to not be a wimp. I think about my Gran when I put my baby down for his naps, and I sing a lullaby she used to sing to me. I think about my Grandpa whenever I hear a train whistle (more like horn, I guess) from across the valley. I think about my 13 year-old great, great, great grandmother who accompanied her little brother on the voyage from England to the US, no parents, when I question my children's abilities to handle responsibilities around the house. I think about my great-grandfather, gleefully plunking out happy tunes on the old upright that still sits in my Grandma's house, when my little boys sit down at our old piano to entertain themselves. This is all just scratching the surface. Maybe I have a psychological fixation. Whatever it is, I wonder, imagine, remember and just plain think about  my ancestors a lot.

Abby, Caelei and Courtney, dancing the highland fling.
It shouldn't be surprising, therefore, that I directed my daughter toward embracing her heritage when I found a Scottish highland dance teacher about 5 years ago. I'm greatly relieved that she loves it so much, so I don't have to feel guilty for forcing her do something she doesn't like (which I would... just kidding). Last Saturday was Abby's 5th competition at the Utah Scottish Association's annual Highland Games at Thanksgiving Point, and her first as a Premier dancer, the highest designation among students of highland dance. Considering she would be competing against more advanced, experienced dancers, I was very pleased that she came away with a 3rd place in the Highland Fling and a 3rd place in Seann Triubhas.

Wishing I had a coffee table.
We did our annual post-dancing tour of the booths and vendors, enjoying a sausage roll (Abby) and a steak and mushroom pie (me). I also made my membership in Clan Mac Nicol official; something I've been promising the clan reps I'd do someday, and I think I caught them totally off-guard when I finally did it this time. I mainly did it for the cool book (The Highland Clan MacNeacail ((MacNicol)) A History of the Nicolsons of Scorrybreac by Sellar and Maclean) they gave with membership. A decent deal, I thought. I'll also have VIP access to "Scorrybreac," clan lands, next time I find myself on the Isle of Skye (audibly snorting as I type).

I don't have a lot of information about the Nicols beyond the past 2 generations, so I wonder about them all the time. From what I have learned, however, my dad's aunts and uncles seem to have been a jovial lot, and I'm content to imagine them that way for the time being. I'm fortunate to have much more information from my mom's side of the family, and I guess I could equate my membership in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (stop laughing) with my clan membership. I'm a social creature, heaven help me.

Mormons really dig the scripture from Malachi 4:6: "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers..." I guess you could say my heart has been turned or something, and I'm not looking for bypass surgery anytime soon.


Travis said...

Thanks for the pic of Grandma and Grandpa! Look at how skinny Grandma's legs are!! She was one hot leg makeup model during the war :)

Anita Cramer Wells said...

hey, I'm a proud DUP member too :-) maybe i could join your camp--i'm the youngest one in mine by several decades.
check out my blog this week, i had a couple scottish pioneers in a row:

Karen said...

Thanks, folks!

Anita, your blog is so interesting and very well done! My camp is in Millcreek and I would actually love to join a closer one. I hesitate to suggest, but maybe we could get a new, slightly more youthful camp going...