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Roots.

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Awash in tradition and bourbon tonight.

Drove up to Coca-Cola Park to buy IronPigs tickets yesterday morning with the Grateful Dead playing on the car stereo (this show, to be anal-retentively specific.)

Every year I buy tickets to see the hometown Rochester Red Wings here in Allentown at least once, and the semi-adopted-hometown Pawtucket Red Sox at least once.

It made me think of the old days when Grateful Dead fans would throw their ticket applications into the sea of demand each year, hoping to get tickets to catch their old favorites at some locally convenient point.

It’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, of course. The Dead’s lineup was reasonably stable, whereas you never know who will make up the Pawtucket Red Sox from season to season.

Still, it struck me as a sort of compatible tradition … a willingness to buy into the brand name from year to year, and an interest in seeing how this year’s version compares to last year’s.

At some point the ticket booths get thrown open, and the faithful — driven by the pleasures of the past — queue up with visions of happiness and transport to come.

Meanwhile, the kids’ bedtime tonight got put off by 20 minutes for a discussion of their heritage. (The youngest is disappointed that he’s only something like 1/416th Native American.)

Driven by that discussion, I went to ancestry.com — where the genealogical research of my grandma and my mom is preserved in great detail — and began looking through the list of people to whom I am related.

There’s a noteworthy overlap, particularly in eastern Massachusetts, where I lived for seven or eight years. There were relatives of mine living and dying there in the 17th and 18th centuries, long before I staked out a small piece of the same turf to get married and start having kids.

I see, for instance, an ancestor who died in Framingham, Mass., in 1715, not quite two centuries before my first son was born in the same town. Was I meant to be there, in some cosmic fashion, or is it just coincidence that I found my way there?

And then there’s the branch of the family that made its way to my hometown of Rochester, N.Y., but that we never knew existed until a few years ago. One of them, a distant cousin of mine, died in Rochester on the same day I was born there. (Not in the same hospital, but within a couple minutes’ drive, I believe.)

I look at the list of names and I wonder about their stories. What did they do all day? What did they want out of life, and what did they get? What were their achievements and their disappointments?

And will some descendant of mine in 2o0 years — presuming mankind makes it that far — look at my birth and death information on a single line and wonder the same about me?

All of which is far too heavy a subject for a school night, I suppose.

So maybe some other night, we’ll line up some more of Kentucky’s finest, and open ourselves up to the mystic, and think about it some more.

I won’t get any closer to the eternal then, either; but it’s always worth a shot.

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