Life in the Burg: “Family Trees” Vol. 1 Art. 5

/ / Leifeld's Blog, Life in the Burg

Fourth cousins. Fifth cousins. The first 30 years of my life, I never really kept tabs on my second cousins. Around here though, finding out that someone is a fourth or fifth cousin is the norm. And there are a number of people in this town who can spit out the full family tree before you have a chance to connect the first two dots.

We attended a somewhat impromptu family reunion last week. Walking in, I was still trying to figure out the connection. As we shook hands with the guest of honor, he casually asked if there had been some mass text message, email or complicated phone chain in order to get all of these people together. It was pretty clear that the number of people in attendance surprised him. There may have been a phone call, but no discussion. Around here, if you have a connection with someone, regardless of how far up the family tree they are, you make an effort to be there.

It seems that mindset is shared by just about everyone in this town. Look at the high school football program. It’s no surprise that small towns basically shut down on game nights during a winning season. What is hard to believe is that people will travel from all over the state to make these playoff games. When I was a kid, it seemed like parents and grandparents attended games. Today, if a player’s mother waves at you from across the street, there’s a good chance that you’ll make a point to be at the next game.

There are families in this town—yes, that means more than one—who get together regularly for potluck dinners, Husker games, or for no reason at all. They are no less busy than anyone else. They might be five or fifty-five years old. But you can be that they’ll be there, every time.

The Q125 celebration could be the most obvious example long-distance connections congregating in this town. I have no doubt that there were a lot of fourth and fifth…maybe even sixth cousins in Petersburg that weekend.

Simply put, this town has a way of connecting people, regardless of family ties or lifelong friendships. While our children may leave home following graduation, or our grade school friends move away, that connection continues to bring them back…even decades later.

While life in this little burg isn’t for everyone, there’s plenty for people to appreciate and want to come back to.