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The Essential Part of Your Life that DNA Testing Can’t Reveal or Preserve


I


t’s very unlikely that you ever heard the story of Bertha and the missing eggs. Bertha, after all, was a young mother who raised her family in the northern Kentucky hill country 100 years ago. For Bertha, her husband Webb, and their family


that eventually grew to 14 children, life was rugged even before the Depression ever came along.


On a spring morning around 1925, Bertha had no eggs to


cook breakfast. While she was preparing bacon and biscuits, she sent her oldest daughter, Margie, to the henhouse to gather the daily output of eggs. Margie came back empty handed. “There were no eggs, Mom,” the little girl said. Bertha’s puzzled look was quickly replaced with the light of


understanding. “Margie,” she said, “grab the broom and follow me.”


Bertha led her daughter to the henhouse, took the broom and began the sweep along the wooden ledge just below the ceiling. Halfway around she encountered an obstacle. With a mighty swipe, she dislodged a five-foot black snake that thumped heavily on the henhouse floor, the lumpy outlines of a half dozen eggs clearly visible inside its long body. Instantly Bertha grabbed the snake by the tail and began to pound its head like a whip on the floor, shouting repeatedly, “If I can’t have the eggs, you can’t have the eggs!” In the almost 100 years since Bertha dispatched the snake,


MAY 2021


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