When You’re Not Looking

In the search for our roots, our ancestors and the stories of their lives, it’s easy to think we know what we’re looking for. We have a name and a birth date, after all. I’m learning, however, that sometimes the most valuable pieces of an ancestors’ life are unearthed in day-to-day conversation–not in family history interviews.

For example, I’ve been asking my mother about her dad (who died several years before my birth). She has told me some wonderful things about his life, his ministry, his talents. But during our time away for Steven’s wedding, my brother, mother, and I were discussing strange foods and types of foods we didn’t particularly like. And out of this random, entertain-the-long-moments-of-our-drive time together, mom remembered that her father always wanted Oyster Soup on Christmas Eve.

It was tradition, she said–though why, or how it came to be, she hadn’t a clue. Every Christmas Eve, Grandpa S. would direct the children’s program at the church, and then the family would come home for Oyster Soup and Christmas cookies. He was the only one who ate the Oyster Soup.

It is not a story I was looking for. It does, however, add some color to my Grandfather’s life.

But as the family history search goes, one piece of incredible information, one enlightening story, one tiny tidbit that surfaces when we least expect it–not only excites and illuminates the search, but also births a dozen infant questions.

Perhaps they, too, will be answered…when I’m not looking.

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4 Responses to When You’re Not Looking

  1. Steve Ward says:

    Hi Sarah,

    It’s funny that you would mention Oyster Soup as a tradition. My in-laws have/had the same tradition. I’ve never been given an explanation as to “why?” either. Since my father-in-law has passed away, I’m not sure if Oyster Soup is still a tradition. At least, I haven’t seen any.

    And, by the way, my initiation into the family was to have at least one bowl of Oyster Soup. They also had Oyster Turkey Stuffing, too.

    • semmie says:

      So how was the Oyster Turkey Stuffing?

      I’ve never had oyster *any*thing, so it’s all new to me! But I may see what I can come up with this year for Christmas Eve to honor my Grandpa. As I understand it, a lot of folks do the oyster stuff for Christmas–but I still haven’t figured out why. 🙂

  2. iceangel16 says:

    Found a link for you:


    It has the “history” of oyster soup.

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