Family Tree

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hi,” she nodded, passing a stranger.Crossing the street, she struggled once again with that old feeling of disconnection. Of not belonging.

She had a long, forceful gait, as if on a mission. It closely mimicked her mother, from whom she inherited long legs and short trunk. Those of age detected the movement of her grandmother as well.

Tabitha (she always thought her name sounded like a cat) remained lost in thought as she continued her short journey to her destination. Her name had come from an aunt on her father’s side.

From a distance, her curly blonde hair, highlighted by sunlight, contrasted with the darker landscape in the background. Curls, like birthmarks, cascaded down through the Cutler family. Tabitha, or “Tab,” was no different, her locks bouncing on her shoulders as she made her way down 1st Street.

Were she dissected, her past could be unveiled.

The narrow nose and high cheekbones bore a striking similarity to her father.

The high forehead could be attributed to Grandmother Cutler.

The eyebrows — like her mom’s — were barely detectable.

And though slim, she had little defining waist, as if her sides joined directly to her hips, a trait Tab considered a curse in Junior High. This Cutler characteristic was easily observed by a stroll through old family photos.

At 23, her youthfulness was apparent in her unmarred skin tone and vivacious smile, which coincided nicely with her inviting, infectious laugh. It seemed to partner with her lively eyes, as if they all worked together.

Unbeknownst to Tab, or any living Cutler for that matter, a century ago Sarah Cutler, Tab’s great-grandmother, had crossed that same street and traveled down that same sidewalk walking that same way as her golden locks bounced. She had stopped and talked to a friend and laughed that same laugh with those same laughing eyes and waved goodbye with a lanky arm just like Tab’s.

It was as if some giant recipe of Cutler aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents from way back had somehow been mixed in a blender together and poured into a funnel and out came a living, breathing, walking creature that embodied all those traits and someone named that creature Tabitha.

But yet, as Tab continued her stroll, the heritage of her forefathers was irrelevant.

“Oh, to have roots. To be a part of something,” she thought, her long legs taking her quickly to her destination.

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is