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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dozens of Cousins


      The last two weeks have been filled with family. Family from far and near. Family that makes life worth the living. A wedding brings them to New Hampshire. A wedding that makes the continuation of family for the generations to come. I reflect on all these things...families, generations, blessings. A large family is , well, large. And I consider that yes, there are dozens of cousins here at my home, bonding and getting to know one another and getting reaquainted, for they are scattered to the winds. There are first cousins, and second cousins, and once and twice removed cousins, and it can make you dizzy if you try to figure it all out, so I will just think of them all as cousins.
     There are the long, tall South Dakota cousins, all long legs and cowboy boots, and the southern cousins with a slow, honeyed drawl. The red haired cousins, and the blue eyed blonde scandanavian cousins. The cousins with big hair and dark eyes, whose Sittu escaped from Tel Aviv in the back of an ambulance during world war 11. They eat far eastern foods and love their heritage. There are the french cousins with shiny brown eyes and glowing skin and the Irish cousins with Galway  Bay blue eyes and fair skin. There are the Russian cousins, whose father came to America from  Kazakhstan with only the clothes on his back so he could raise his children in this land of opportunity. They have clear white skin and mongolian faces. There are the cousins whose grandmother was carried over the Rio Grande on her mothers back , they too, have merry eyes and spanish blood. One little cousin has white hair and blue eyes and his forefathers came from Portugal.
     There are boy cousins and girl cousins and old cousins and baby cousins. They come from so many places and back grounds, and they all have heard the gospel and know the truth. Wht a rich heritage!
       There is lots of noise, with all these cousins, and we cook a lot of food and wash a lot of dishes, and there is never any clean towels and the we wash load after load of laundry. We are always sending someone to the store for milk and ice, and we go through dozens of popsicles and gallons of ice cream. In the mornings we make pancakes , for hours. We talk and laugh and cry. The fishing poles are lined up, ready for a trek down to the Dam, and the towels and the picnic basket. Its too hot and dry to find worms, so some kind uncle takes a carload of small wiggly boys to buy worms, and penny candy. I find worm cartons in the fridge for days after every one has gone. The swimming hole is not too far away, so Moms take turns loading up swimmers. The lines are full of wet swimsuits and muddy towels.

       The teenagers are vibrant, and smart, and confident. They talk loud, and they laugh, and they wrestle. They rev their engines and smoke the tires and blow their horns. They are in a hurry, as if time is wasting. They have places to go and things to do. Yet they help with the wedding, they entertain the children, they sit for awhile and listen to the old men talk. They stay up all night.At two am and four am you can hear muted laughter in the field where all the trucks are parked and see the red glow of cigarettes and and the white glow of styrofoam coffee cups inthe shadowy dark." I wish you had been out with us last night, Gram," they say. "there were so many shooting stars." And I cry, because, I know, they really would have liked it if I was there, and because if I could pass on to them anything that is mine, it would be that they could have the eyes to see shooting stars.
        Its hot the whole time. Searing hot, with a hot wind. It doesn't cool down at nights, and we sweat and toss in the dark. If we hang  out towels at eight in the evening, they are dry in the morning because there is no dew. Some times the thunder grumbles in the distance, and I lie there waiting to hear the sound of abundance of rain, but it does not come. The grass is brown and the dust rises and settles.
       The time flies by. Families begin leaving, one by one.The field is empty. The tents are pulled down. The circle of chairs in the shady spots sit lonely and forgotten. The silence spreads and covers the noisy, happy places." Come back," whispers the wind through the dusty screens."Come back," say the sheets on the line, flung into the wind and back again. The baby pool lies upside down and empty. The beds lie sheetless and bare. Only a small trace, a tiny pink sandal, a very dirty white sock, a row of bikes and trucks waiting to be ridden down the big hill, a camoflage cap, three pairs of fairy wings hanging on the pear tree. Thats all thats left of the dozens of cousins.

         Come again, come grace my life with your very aliveness, your words of hope and wisdom, your uniqueness, your joy. You are welcome in the morning, you are welcome in the noon time, you are welcome in the starlight. I'll take you any time!


  1. I love that they come from all over the country. I love that they come from all over the world. I love that no matter where they come from they bear the family resemblance. I love that the cousins had old fashioned fun. I am sad I missed it all.

  2. Super sweet tribute to the kinds of families that make up an American one! I bet your house and yard seem eerily quiet now.