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Beth Underwood: DNA kit holds key to ancestral lineage, possible ‘luck of the Irish’

Did you ever see Louie Anderson’s skit about his little brother, Tommy? Louie told Tommy he was adopted.

“They were frog-faced people,” Louie told him. “I saw them drop you off.”

And poor little Tommy bought the story hook, line and sinker, going so far as to tape his eyes shut every night so his eyes wouldn’t pop out of his head.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s column.

Colton has long been curious about his ancestral lineage. And thanks to the genealogy work by relatives, we have a decent handle on where we’re from. The short answer shows a lot of Scottish, a little Cherokee, and the token rabble-rouser tossed in for good measure.

But that’s not enough for Colton. He wants Irish blood, too. And lots of it. Probably so he can wear one of those “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirts once a year.

The process for DNA collection was simple: fill tube with saliva, and mix with magic stabilizing fluid.

So this past Christmas, Santa brought him a DNA kit. The process for DNA collection was simple: fill tube with saliva, mix with magic stabilizing fluid and voila. Colton was thrilled — and was ready to submit his sample that very day.

The only problem was that the kit came with stipulations — namely nothing to eat or drink 30 minutes prior to filling the tube with spit. I’m embarrassed to say these directives proved quite an obstacle to overcome.

For the next five months, the kit sat on the counter. Whenever he’d think about the test, he didn’t meet spit collection criteria. And when he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, the kit was the furthest thing from his mind.

It wasn’t until after months of near misses that the stars aligned, the timing was right and the spit was primed — almost half a year since jolly old Saint Nick had delivered the DNA kit. But on that golden day — and in less than three minutes — said specimen was collected, readied, and off to the mail box.

Now we wait. Again. And wonder. Will the DNA results confirm what we already suspect? What ancestral mysteries will unfold? Will the luck of the Irish be with him?

Only time — and his official results — will tell. Meanwhile, he may want to tape his eyelids down at night. Just in case.

Beth Underwood is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She shares stories of everyday life that entertain, inspire, and encourage others. Her books include Gravity, a narrative nonfiction account of a small group of Tennessee National Guardsmen, and Talk Bourbon to Me, a lighthearted look at Kentucky’s native spirit. Drop her a line at beth@bethwrightunderwood.com, or visit her website at bethwrightunderwood.com.

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