DAY 1: It is Monday, 6:45 PM, my phone begins to blow up with the all too familiar text message sounds. I love my phone. It’s actually more like an addiction. It’s a daily struggle that I manage one day at a time. I’m the guy that tucks his phone into bed each night, nuzzled next to my right armpit, just in case I need to communicate with the world. My boyfriend has finally wrapped his head around the idea that we are in an open relationship with my iPhone. There have been times where at some crazy hour in the darkness of the night I feel a presence over my shoulder. My boyfriend’s hand has this detached random movement resembling the character Thing from the Addam’s Family. The glow of my 3:00 AM Twitter feed helps guide his hand to its destination. Clutching my phone I helplessly submit to this game of tech-a-war and my sweet dear loyal phone is thrown across the room. He is far from a jealous one but once in a while he just wants me motionless, quiet and dark.
Now back to Monday night, the pinging noises begin to rapid fire. This can only mean one thing. My family is communicating in a group text message extravaganza. I have 7 siblings, plus Mother and Father. We are all spread across different time zones throughout the country. These family message chains have been known to last hours, even days.
We just sat down for dinner when the commotion began. I just couldn’t resist the temptation to read what all of the excitement was about. As I scroll through the message logs of inside family jokes (some I get, some I don’t), the congratulations, the bro-ish “what a stud” comment, my mom’s “that’s awesome!,” “booya” types another. As I sift through the “happy for you” and the “love you”…I arrive at the source. My brother Graham (sibling #5) who is two-years my junior is the culprit for the family cellular fuss.
“Anders Deliverance Allen is here! He arrived this morning at 2:35 AM"
I suppose when you have so many grandbabies the novelty wears off and there is no rush to tell the immediate family.
"After only an hour and half of labor. He is 6 pounds 14 ounces and 19 inches long. Both he and Emily are doing great. We are planning to bless him in May. We love you!”
I share this newsworthy family press release with my boyfriend. As I read my nephew’s full name, he stops me midsentence and without missing a beat air banjos a toe tappin Appalachian folk tune. He channels a spot on reenactment of the hillbilly boy from the Jon Voight-Burt Reynolds-Ned Beatty fictional thriller…“Deliverance.”
I gasp. Mormons don’t watch R-rated films. They would have no knowledge of the infamous river trip or the sodomizing rape scene. I sympathetically utter some future playground bully scenario where poor Anders Deliverance Allen will be forever haunted by the sound of squealing school yard kids.
We go to bed.
DAY 2: I wake up around 2 AM with little nephew Deliverance fresh on my mind. Deliverance did sound familiar and I was incredibly curious why my brother chose this. My family doesn’t mess around with names. Each is significant with a powerful story and meaning to go with it. Mine for example, Kimball Baden Allen, was after the Mormon prophet, Spencer W. Kimball. And my middle namesake, whom I also share the same birthday with, is the famous British Army Lieutenant-General and founder of the scouting movement Lord Baden Powell.
In the search engine bar I type: Deliverance Utah Mormon Pioneer.
I click enter.
I scroll page one of search results; nothing. I scroll page two and there he is beaming from the computer screen. George Deliverance Wilson, I found you.
My genealogy detective work is on a roll. My ancestor, George Deliverance Wilson, is a fascinating character. Great-Great-Great Grandfather George Deliverance was born in 1807 in Vermont. He was an early convert to the Mormon faith. In 1847, Grandpa Deliverance moved west to Utah. Along the way he married four women becoming a card holding polygamist, fought in the Black Hawk Wars, marched in the Mormon Battalion, and had around 18 children (I lost count). He eventually spent the latter years of his life in a small southern Utah cowboy town of Panguitch. George Deliverance Wilson died in 1887.
My search didn’t stop here. I now had this burning desire to find out which wife of Deliverance’s did my family lineage come from. My dad is a family history buff so I formulate the following Email:
I was looking into Graham’s baby’s name and came across this link. I’m assuming this is our ancestor. George had so many wives and children I couldn’t figure out which of his posterity we came from? Do you have any idea?”
A few hours later my phone makes the sound of a fresh Email waiting in my inbox. His letter reads:
“Good questions about the Deliverance name. Actually for both Mother and I, we come through two of the wives of George Deliverance Wilson.”
Long pause, I then re-read.
An even longer pause, I then re-read.
In one breath and in one single grammatically correct sentence my father tells me that we are inbred. The rest of his letter really isn’t that relevant or important anymore. He dives into the family tree and memories of visiting George Deliverance Wilson’s home as a child. All I read is "inbred" in between his words.
The next night I wake up in night sweats. I grab my trusty phone. My online search moves on from Deliverance to the genetic defects of inbreeding. My boyfriend refrains from throwing the phone across the room. He lets me be.
DAY 3: What started as a family text message on Monday announcing the arrival of Anders Deliverance Allen, ends with a message on Wednesday at 6:48 PM. it’s a photo from my youngest brother McKay (sibling #8) and his beautiful wife of less than a year showcasing the size of her ever growing belly.