Born to the water in the Gulf Coast, we learned to swim in the bayou off bay-worthy, home-crafted wooden boats and grew up amongst many dialects that inspired a love of language. Family roots go back to pre-US Spanish Pensacola (the galician Villars), New Orleans, and Arkansas. "Konfirmationsscheine" show that paternal German ancestors were baptized in St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square before intermarrying with the Spanish, French, and a noted Norwegian boat pilot , while the more mobile Arkansas maternal side traces a meandering genealogy from the Appalachian mountains to the Missouri boot-heel with rumored mixtures with outcasts of various kinds including Blackfoot, Cherokee, and others. But these wandering ancestors were lumbermen, travelers, itinerant preachers, and impecunious storytellers and so much of that family history is shrouded in tales and mysteries . . .