My sister’s youngest granddaughter came home in a hissy. A classroom friend said her flame red hair came from Neanderthal ancestors, then a know-it-all teacher said interbreeding of Sapiens and Neanderthals was non consensual and violent.
They settled into the sofa so the granddaughter could hear a story passed down in our family for at least 80,000 years. Yes, her first ancient Neanderthal granny introduced the red hair into the family, and ever since the women have found it very useful. Red hair is a stud-magnet for men who thrill to women of high maintenance. If your friend is a blond, well men attracted to blonds go to seed early.
It all began because another of your early Sapien grannies was Nora married to a big bruiser call Old Ugly. By the time she had three sons she became apprehensive about the future, but could not put her finger on the cause since there were no words for numbers let alone multiplication and percentage.
She gathered straight sticks and forked sticks, laid out a straight stick for each of the young studs in the family clan, and a forked stick for each breeder. The problem was all too evident. Too many straight sticks or too few forked sticks for long term peace in the clan.
The first son called Young Ugly was like his father and would have no trouble bringing back a winner from some beauty pageant who would think herself royal for the rest of his life. His worry. The next two sons were named John and Andrew. Smaller, inclined to chatter a lot, they spent too much time studying the termites instead of eating them. Neither would ever be called a bruiser. Still when they got old enough to understand breeding, there would be jealousy and bloodshed.
This called for proactive planning. She sidled up to Old Ugly and ask if he remembered when he was young and hot, and delighted in doing special favors for her. He perked up because he remembered some of the rewards for those rendered favors. She begged him to bring back two very young breeders from his next raid on the Neanderthals. She wanted company while he was out hunting she said.
Old Ugly remembered when Nora was young and also hot, so he took the strange request in stride and gave his old Nora a promise. One thing about him, he kept his word.
When he returned he had two red haired breeder babies in a sling. Nora swung into action, cleaning, feeding, and rocking the babies. Something astonishing happened. Even though the babies were new to her, the familiar smells of baby pee, poo, and puke transformed her from a woman with a plan to a mother, defender and provider without peer. It was a moment of empirical revelation. It was not the breeding and birthing that did it. It was the baby pee, poo, and puke.
As the breeders approached the filling out and bedding down age, she often saw John and Andrew sharing bone marrow with them. In response they would turn into pools of giggles which seemed to make the brothers work even harder cracking and scratching for marrow.
She wanted to give them something special like her claw necklace or tusk bracelet, but Young Ugly would notice and feel cheated. So she secretly gave each a tattoo in a place only John or Andrew would be privileged to see. They knew this was outstanding, and immediately swore allegiance for life.
So my sister finished the family story by stressing the lessons to be learned. Respect all your ancient grannies, whether Sapien or Neanderthal, for their pioneering foresight and wisdom. Treasure red hair as a stud-magnet. A private tattoo is a good investment. Look forward to baby pee, poo, and puke as it is transforming.
My sister is very good on family tradition. And in full disclosure there was a time when her red hair did not come from a bottle. Charles Marlin