A reunion with close family members you have never met is a true privilege. Mine took place in 2009 in western Canada, near Edmonton, where I met fifty first cousins my mother had always kept in the background. Our forebears left Ukraine in 1898, crossed Canada on the Northern Pacific Railroad, and settled as homesteaders on the Alberta plains.
As they passed by wild animals, howling winds, and temperatures reaching to -40•, these pioneers would stop at crossroads to pray, or cross themselves at roadside shrines consisting of the characteristic Ukrainian slanted cross.
My family still gathers at the cemetery beside the onion-domed church on Orthodox Easter for picnics after the long winter.
Sometimes we may not realize why we do things. Still, fragments of our DNA seep through the generations in ongoing customs and habits.