This is the gravestone of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather John Brickey, who came from Virginia to settle in what is now Townsend, Tenn., just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He was born -- it staggers me to contemplate this -- 269 years ago. He is buried in Townsend's Myers Cemetery, near where tourists rent bright yellow and green inner tubes and float lazily down the Little River.
John's son Peter Brickey, my great-great-great-great-great uncle, bought the land that today includes my family's farm, where Ereck and I just spent two weeks' vacation. On the farm I gazed at giant boulders I climbed on when I was a kid; got water in the old spring house (unlike in olden days, this involves plugging in a pump); and dodged mud daubers in the attic of Uncle Peter's original cabin, a picture of which is on the Wikipedia entry for Wears Valley, Tenn.
Sometimes when I'm at the farm the hair stands up on my neck as I contemplate how rich my family heritage is there. Then I check to see what's on the Game Show Network.