Topic: "Runs in the Family" (3)
Frodo is intimately aware of the fact that certain things, in the American South, "run in the family." There always seems to be a family secret; be it an uncle who had children out-of-wedlock, a niece who liked girls more than boys, a sister who liked the sauce, or some sort of funky disease that made family members disappear for years on end. These happenings were rarely discussed above whispers, and it would take decades for anyone to discern the truth behind the rumor. Occasionally, one of these stories comes to public light, and Frodo can't help but sit in the front row, snickering like a teen-ager.
Russ Pritchard, an appraiser who was a frequent guest on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, specialized in items from the Era of the American Civil War. In 1995, Pritchard approached the family of George E. Pickett, and offered to purchase some family heirlooms. Pickett, as all Hobbits remember, led a courageous but disastrous assault on the enemy front-lines at Gettysburg on July 3rd, 1863, which wiped out his division, and virtually assured the Southern defeat.
Representing a museum in Pennsylvania, Pritchard offered to pay $87,500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Costa Rica for the family of George E. Pickett V, the great-great grandson of the infamous Confederate General. Thinking they had gotten a "great deal," the Picketts were somewhat chagrined to learn, two years later, that Pritchard had immediately turned around and sold the heirlooms to the museum for $870,000. Needless to say, the employment of barristers commenced throughout. It was clear from the beginning however, that the Picketts' had simply not done their homework, and had relied on the word of someone they had seen on TV.
There are a couple of finer historical points which bear notice. General George E. Pickett, finished dead last in the West Point Class of 1846. His Great-Great Grandson also attended West Point, but dropped out after 11 weeks on campus. The good General, after the War, sold insurance and died at age 50 in 1875. His Great-Great Grandson is married to a surfing instructor, and his current personal occupation has not been determined.
Frodo notes that these easy-going people are a prime example of "runs in the family." It would be Frodo's suggestion, dear reader, that it would just make good sense to not purchase life insurance sold by anyone named Pickett, or to even consider the "wild, wild surf" with families who would exchange their heirlooms for a trip to Costa Rica.
Frodo is willing to wager that the Great-Great Grandson voted for George W. Bush, twice.