Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cousins

My dad was one of seven children. That gave me lots of cousins. 15 to be exact! My grandparents had 18 grandchildren. Several of us were born right in a row. I think my mom and 2 aunts were all pregnant at the same time. So growing up I had lots of playmates. We lived in the same area with my mom's and dad's families. Every Sunday, we'd head over to PawPaw (spelled Papa, but people don't say it right if you spell it like that now) and Nanny Mink's house. We'd run around the yard playing tag or sit with the adults and just listen. We'd hope Papa would offer us an ice cream cone but since he was big and kinda gruff sometimes...we were always scared to ask. 

 On birthdays, my Papa would make those fancy doll cakes or big teddy bear cakes. Every Easter, there would be a dozen dyed eggs for each grandchild. 18 dozen! Can you imagine? Holidays were spent around their table, so full of food it didn't fit on your plate. All made by my grandparents. Winter found us in their bedroom huddled around a huge fireplace. Standing in front of it scorching our britches and then watching Papa shovel another scoop full of coal to really get it warm. We'd get tired and then lay down on one of their beds and just listen. 

 There was a hallway that led to the bathroom and kitchen. It had two closets on either side. To keep out drafts, our grandparents would hang a curtain over the doorway. My papa loved scaring the daylights out of us. He'd hide in one of those closets and jump out to grab you as you were walking by. At least, you were already headed in the direction of the bathroom. 

When I went to high school, two or three of my cousins went there at the same time. My Aunt Ruby always told me, if anyone messed with me, just go get Shane or Jesse. Because you're family and we take care of each other. 

Now, I'm older and haven't been around in a while.  I'm friends with some of my cousins on facebook, but rarely get to see them in person.  We've shared a lot over the years...common memories, grief and loss...the same genes.  

This weekend I got the rare treat of seeing my cousin.  We're only a couple of months apart in age and graduated together.  Growing up, our two families were pretty close, because we lived so nearby.   He was one of my favorite times this weekend.  He played on our alumni softball team against my brother.  We only had a few minutes really to talk, but we've shared so much over the years that it was okay.  I think this was the first picture we've had together in more than 20 years.   

I feel so blessed to have grown up in such a big family as a child.  Blessed to have a shared heritage with all these cousins.  




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