The blue people and a pink flower

Vankleek Hill spring

I found a story recently about a Kentucky family who, for at least nine generations, were actually blue. Not like a tinge, or a shade, but actually blue, like a Smurf. Like a fucking Smurf. Awesome. It’s a crazy rare hereditary genetic blood disorder called methemoglobinemia.

There are ways to acquire methemoglobinemia without genetics being involved, but this particular family passed it along to their kids through inbreeding, also kind of like Smurfs. The extended family lived in an isolated region, with very few opportunities for marrying outside the clan. There have also been blue people in Ireland and Alaska.

In the mid-1980’s the last remaining members of the family moved away, and the Methemoglobinemia mostly disappeared from the family due to outside factors… like they found dates outside the family. You can read more about the family [here] and [here].

Speaking of blue people, a couple of weeks ago I attended a talk at the Arbor Gallery, in Vankleek Hill. Every Saturday night, from January until April, the art gallery hosts local speakers / experts on topics like “non-violent communication”, the “ancient history of the Ottawa Valley”, and “healing our spiritual grief”. So, mostly, hippie stuff.

The one I attended was a presentation on living with “bipolar 2” by Ruth Allen, a local, retired, registered nurse. I thought it was going to be an educational thing, but it turned out to be about her personal journey to being diagnosed with the disease.

Which was fine, it’s always nice to hear how people cope. Having a system like AA for people with bipolar seems to make sense… hello, my name is Jimi, and I have manic depression. Something like that.

This region has the highest rates of poverty, addiction and depression in Canada (off reserve). And there is a genetic component to the statistics. By percentage Hawkesbury is the largest French speaking community outside Quebec, with more than 85% of the population speaking French in the home.

So, even though the small Ontario city sits on the Quebec border, Hawkesbury has been isolated through culture / language for two hundred years, even though there’s three major highways nearby.

I’m just saying, we could probably reduce the levels of depression and other harmful things in this region if we teamed up with Montreal and Quebec City and started some kind of summer exchange sex tourism thing… you know, increase the gene pool.

Anyway… the photo is from last summer, and is my way of reminding myself that spring is almost here. Also, I haven’t taken a decent photo in two months. Which makes me blue.

Vankleek Hill Photos copyright

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