Saturday, September 3, 2011
A Ballgame, Tall Tales and a Chance to Meet Cousins!
Back in early August I had one of those rare opportunities to actually meet, for the first time, cousins discovered in the past two years while researching my family history. I was fortunate in that my business required me to travel to Arlington, Texas for a conference that coincidentally put me in close proximately to both Jim and John Slack. We are all second cousins from our common great grandfather, John W. Slack (b. Nov 23, 1873, d. Apr 5, 1959).
As luck would have it, both Jim and John were available the evening of August 9 and agreed to meet. We decided on a Texas Rangers game which included 104-degree temperatures and stifling humidity, but despite the oppressive weather we all had a great time. In fact, we got so embroiled in conversation about our families and our great grandfather that we periodically lost track of the game. The crowd did manage to draw our attention back to the field in the bottom of the ninth when the Rangers drove in the winning run in what became an exciting come-from-behind victory. We almost missed it!
Somewhere during the game, an usher was kind enough to snap the photo shown at the head of this post. From left to right in the picture are Jim Slack, Andrew Hair, and John Slack. We were mercifully sitting in a “shaded” part of the park!
Jim’s grandfather was James Earl Slack (b. Nov 2, 1899, d. Aug 17, 1993); John’s was Garland Glenwill Slack (b. May 9, 1904, d. Aug 31, 1978), and my grandfather was Ellsworth Woodrow Slack (b. Mar 16, 1914, d. Mar 4, 1996). Both Jim and John’s paternal grandfathers and my maternal grandfather were brothers. Fortunately for all three of us we share an interest in our shared Slack family history. We spent the evening talking about hunting and fishing stories, boat races, flying, mining, and other topics of interest related to the Slack brothers and sisters from Southwest Missouri.
As it turned out, we all knew bits and pieces of many of the same yarns our common ancestors had passed down through the years. It was fascinating to hear different versions of some of the stories my grandfather had told to me when I was a boy. The evening did reinforce one perception of my grandfather and his brothers—they were all story tellers in their own right. More importantly, as I am learning from my cousins, some of the Slack tales are more colorful and taller than I thought. Nevertheless, that’s what makes them great!
Unfortunately, the game that hot August evening went by too quickly and had to come to an end, but we all vowed to get together again one day and begin spinning some tales of our own. After all, we have a family tradition to keep alive and well!