Monday, July 27, 2015


Much confusion and not a little bit of controversy surrounds this blog site and my clan. Many who find their way here do so expecting soup recipes. Some have visited when I had a major league author, Ol' Remus, grace the pages with an excellent essay on Appalachia. All are welcome.  

I am reposting this because I don't feel like writing anything new, and I do not have any clever ideas. I will give credit to my Art Director and Public Radio Interpreter, Philistine, for most of the story and for the coat of arms. Now that he has got a real job somewhere he might decide to sue me. For something.

I might as well give credit to Ian Miller, the illustrations are his. He might decide to sue me, too.

I'll even add a tune, and if ZZ decides to sue me, I'll put them in touch with Philistine and Ian, haw haw.


In these troubled times where so many young people seem to lack direction my thoughts turn to the strong oral tradition of my family. It is the best way that morals and virtues are continued from generation to generation. Fathers convey to sons, mouth to ear in low breath, the following history:

In the olden time when Vikings and Rus and other tribes of warrior types were roaming northern Europe, marauding and fighting, so forth, one clan of particularly fierce warriors were a bit late in evolving. For a long time they didn't have command of fire, they slept outdoors year round, ate everything raw. When they started making contact with other tribes other than in battle they were exposed to more civilized ways: like actually entering a lodge or hut rather than burning it down; utilizing fire other than as a weapon of war; eating cooked food with knives or in bowls. These warriors were so unfamiliar with the customs that they didn't do too well with soup. They couldn't handle bowls of hot stuff; they spilled a lot. Other tribes (that were prudent enough not to remark on this clumsiness until  the warriors departed) told the tale, and legend was born concerning this fierce clan that spilled soup. It is from these origins that we descend and proudly carry the family name translated from Old German as “Spillers of Soup”. Recent investigation with the help of the National Geographic Anthropological Institute and a world-renowned genealogical study group, Die Schwartzwaldkuchen Society, has verified certain conclusions: no remains of this clan were ever found with other than weapons at hand. No archaeological digs have uncovered signs of dwellings, cooking and eating implements, agricultural activity. Uncovered remains of more recent clan members show the presence of a spoon in the boot of male members, dating from the time period of the Third Crusade. Conjecture abounds regarding this fact.



The crest and motto derive from some of their first contact with “civilization”. It was really all a misunderstanding that began with the invitation to participate in a regional tournament. The local king was understandably nervous about the rogues that still could be found in the wastelands just outside the realm of his kingdom. While never known for useless plunder or for suicidal attacks on larger armed camps or foes, the ways of the Spillers were legend and the prudent King wanted a closer look at these ruffians.

Not being much on subtlety, reading, or leaving messengers alive, the chief of the Spillers failed to note the invitation was to a games tournament, and would have nevertheless misunderstood as the Spillers had no experience in friendly competition. Onward they marched, unto the kingdom, taking livestock (much to the dismay of the local farmers) and wenches and any other refreshments they happened to desire – the land was rich and productive and apparently unprotected! On they trudged through muddy fields, never on roads, thinking that they were to be enlisted as mercenaries for some magical battle.

“Well, they must need some help, there’s no army left!” they opined. They had no concept of treaties, alliances, laws, or any other alternatives to steel and blood. Brazenly marching across another people’s lands emboldened the Spillers and at the same time filled them with dread and concern that they too might encounter the incredible force that had killed all, leaving behind only defenseless peasants not worthy of steel.

Things did not go well. The gates and the castle walls were lightly guarded and easily breached since the Spillers and the king’s guards both had forgotten that the invitation to the tournament included a waiver of the entry offering. The band had all but slaughtered the entire garrison, all tournament knights and foot soldiers, all visiting nobility, and pretty much anyone besides the servant wenches when they at last came upon the king who had invited them, one of the only surviving persons who could speak their dialect. On being informed of their error and feeling a bit embarrassed that they had once again mucked things up, not wanting to be seen as ignorant of the civilized ways, the band adopted Spielen Nicht – Nur Töten (don’t play … just kill) as their motto and vowed never again to mistake play for battle by simply outlawing play within their ranks.
Motto runners up were “never to play again” – kinda soft and wishy-washy, and “don’t fuck with us or we’ll kill you” – too harsh, bad for trade.

To this day and for generations to come the proud traditions of this noble clan and the customs perpetuated serve as a moral compass for our family. And yes, all of the male members always carry a spoon in their boot.


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