"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain









1.04.2010

Relatively Speaking.....

At first I thought twice about posting this on my blog.  But I have set no parameters about what the blog is about.  I did say on the header there would be family stories...and hence, my first family story!!
As you will see, this is a post about the stubborn family trait.....of stubbornness!  It is how those of us with that trait look at it and how it affects our life.  It is also about my Uncle Jo.  My Uncle Jo truly was larger than life to me, even as an adult.  Sadly, he is not expected to live through the night. So consider this a little family tribute!  

 

If you have the name ‘Ferguson’ in any part of your given name, chances are you are stubborn. If you formerly had the name ‘Ferguson’ in any part of your given name, chances are you are stubborn. If you are of direct lineage of any part of the Ferguson family tree, chances are you are stubborn.
If you are married to a Ferguson you probably know first-hand how stubborn the Ferguson’s can be. If you are married to anyone formerly named Ferguson, you probably know first-hand how stubborn the Ferguson’s can be. If you are married to anyone of direct lineage to any branch of the Ferguson family tree, you probably know first-hand how stubborn the Ferguson’s can be. Let’s be honest, if you married a Ferguson or a Ferguson branch or twig, you 1. Are inordinately courageous and 2. Probably win very few arguments. (And are nodding your head right now that you know EXACTLY what I am talking about!!!!)
If you are a friend to a Ferguson, a Ferguson branch or a Ferguson twig (all parts of the Ferguson family tree for those of you having trouble catching on to the ‘branch’ and ‘twig’ reference), you have probably had the Ferguson stubbornness factor come in between you and your Ferguson friend. More likely than not, it is because YOU gave in, or ignored the Ferguson stubbornness , is how you have remained friends.
I know these facts to be true because I am a Ferguson and I am extremely stubborn. I know these facts to be true because I know that I have relatives that are as much, if not more, stubborn than I am. I also know that many of the Fergusons (branches and twigs included) have remained married for years. I also know that most of the Fergusons (branches and twigs included) have a plethora of friends. Therefore, logic would tell me that we marry very forgiving and patient spouses and pick friends that will have jewels in their final crowns!
I remember clearly a story from grade school (keep in mind young sponge-like mind): We were learning the word ‘TENACIOUS’ as one of our vocabulary words. (I can’t even get my high school students to figure that word out, and we were learning it in grade school!!!! Sorry, I digress.) OK, back to the story, the teacher pronounced the word, gave us the definition of ‘tenacious’, (in which she used the word ‘stubborn’), and then gave an extended example of the word ‘tenacious’. In this extended example she asked the class if we had ever seen a cat that was clawing at something and then just hung on by its claws for a long length of time. She said cats are very ‘tenacious’ because they can just hang on and hang on and don’t let go of things. I remember looking around the room and some of my fellow students were nodding their head in agreement with the teacher (much like some of you were in the first few paragraphs), and some of the students were even whispering tales of their own tenacious cats. I sat there totally dumbfounded. I could not BELIEVE the teacher had just given this long detailed description of what it meant to be ‘tenacious’ and had used a cat as the descriptor!!! I remember sitting there in that grade school classroom thinking, “Why didn’t she just say, ‘Do any of you all know a FERGUSON? They are the most ‘tenacious’ people I know!!!” I could not believe she had missed that golden opportunity to let me wear that badge of ‘tenaciousness’ proudly!!!!!
And that is how we Ferguson’s are. We wear that badge of stubbornness proudly. We consider being ‘stubborn’ a blessing. If you are in those other groups (spouses and friends) you no doubt consider it a curse. The only thing all groups would probably agree on is that Fergusons are stubborn to a fault.
When I was younger and I began to realize others did not look quite so favorably on the character trait of stubbornness, I would then fall back on the ‘tenacious’ word. Sometimes people weren’t sure what ‘tenacious’ meant and that trait (or fault) would not be immediately known. (…..Until I disagreed about something!) I never used the word ‘obstinate’ as a substitution, because I always thought that sounded even worse than the word stubborn!! As I got older I began to realize I didn’t need to tell people I was stubborn (or tenacious), as they probably already knew, or would quickly find out for themselves.
As I have matured (many are probably shaking their heads at this point) I have tried to treat the stubbornness factor a s a vice. I have tried to approach it as I would any other bad habit. But no matter how I approach it, that dang stubborn trait is stubborn!!!!! It won’t go away. For that matter, it rarely leaves my side! It is something I work on, but it is a trait that is so ingrained from my large family tree, the truth is, there is probably no escaping it. Ever.
My Uncle Jo (being a Ferguson, so naturally) is stubborn. He’ll admit it. Others around him will regale in tales of his stubbornness. Lately, that stubbornness has served him well as well as worked against him. He has been in hospitals for six weeks. He is now in a nursing home. The week before Thanksgiving he fell and broke his hip. While one never wants that to happen, we all knew that Uncle Jo- The- Stubborn- Man, would overcome the setback to his planned-out life. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone according to the planned-out life. First, he had to wait a few days on the surgery to be performed to get blood counts right. Then after the surgery, while his hip was good-as-new-and- fixed, for some mysterious reason, he lost his ability to eat or talk. Well if we’re going to put Stubbornness up there at the top of the Ferguson Description List, the only things that could possibly be ahead of it would be TALKING and EATING! We (the Ferguson tree, branches and twigs) live to eat and always have more than our share of things to say, on any subject! So, this was a huge setback to now have to overcome the inability to speak or eat in addition to having to learn to walk again with a new hip. But because Uncle Jo is stubborn he hung right in there. And he continued to hang right on to his stubbornness (like those danged tenacious cats!) when other procedures were recommended to him. He was stubborn and did not want (or in his mind ‘need’) the other procedures. His stubbornness kept him hanging on, but his stubbornness kept him out of a good part of the fight. Funny how that works. And as Fergusons, we can each and every one relate. We have all done that same thing , in some way, at some point of our lives. We are stubborn enough to hang on, but too stubborn to know when to quit being stubborn.
In my eyes, my Uncle Jo has always been larger than life. He is a large man (or used to be). (Again, the ‘large’ part yet another Ferguson trait, but that is a whole other essay). I remember when I was a very young girl I thought he was huge. He seemed to tower over me. He had legs that went on forever. His voice matched his personality. It was loud and booming. His laugh was even more infectious. He was able to capture and keep everyone’s attention with his voice, (in both conversation and song). Even though he had five children of his own, he never let me think he had more than enough to take care of. He let me tag along, sit on his lap, hoist on his shoulders or join in at all times. His creative spirit kept me continually fascinated. In one of those weird quirks of life, he was closer to the age of my maternal grandmother than he was to the age of my dad! Because of this gap, people sometimes mistook my Uncle Jo as my grandfather instead of my uncle. I used to feel bad when people did that, until it finally dawned on me that grandfathers are the ultimate in ‘special’ and others probably presumed that he was my grandfather instead of my uncle BECAUSE he was so special.
Also because of that age gap between my Uncle Jo and my Dad, I have heard stories my whole life about who had it the worst!!!! Depending upon which side you listen to, my Dad was either a much-younger-spoiled-little-brother or an-overworked-because-everyone-else-was-already-gone-from-the-house-kid-brother! Even as Uncle Jo was forced to write notes instead of talk, he still told us tales giving his version.
When I first went to the hospital to see Uncle Jo he was in ICU. I stopped at the nurse’s desk to make sure it would be fine for me to visit. I asked the nurse which cubicle he was in. She gave me a funny look and said, “You mean David Ferguson?” I smiled and nodded. David Jo Ferguson. So of course, they had him listed as David Ferguson. My smile was because to me, he is and always will be, my very, very special, Uncle Jo.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see him and took all five of my own children with me. This time HE smiled. He grabbed his pen and notepad and scribbled out the words, “Who would have five kids?” I replied back, “Only people that are half-crazy!” He nodded and wrote back to me, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you it is not GREAT to have five kids!!!” I looked him in the eye and said, “I agree. But there are only very few people these days that know that secret!” He wrote back, “You and me!!!!”
We know we're right. Uncle Jo and I are stubborn that way!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Lori, that is such a touching story. My prayers are with you and your family and of course Uncle Jo. You have a beautiful way of telling a story. It is so hard to lose someone that is such a huge part of your life but it sounds like you have wonderful memories that you will hold onto. Life is just sometimes so dang hard!!

    Hugs,
    LeAnn:)

    Hugs,
    LeAnn:)

    ReplyDelete

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