Monday, March 24, 2014

BFF's - Cousins Forever

I've heard it said, "Cousins are your first best friends."

This photo of my little grandkids gives me pause. They're their first cousins in our family. How will they grow up together? Will they be friends?

I'm optimistic...because... own cousins are some pretty special people...they were there from the beginning.

I know I'm blessed. I have City Cousins and I have Country Cousins. The best of two worlds. As we've grown older, our lives have understandably drifted apart because of jobs, our own families and such. But, that cousin bond somehow still holds.

My City Cousins taught me creativity and music. Music in the old-fashioned country-classic-sort-of-way. It seemed several of us experienced some level of instrument and voice accomplishments. I don't remember a time when our family gatherings didn't have music of some sort.

You would never find us sitting in front of a tv when together. Family time - was - family time.
It would be Easter egg hunts, or Jam sessions, or board games and cards that would keep us occupied for hours. As we grew older our conversations deepened philosophically as we exchanged our ideas and questions in our developing world views.

My Country Cousins added even more creative elements to my growing years. First of all, it was cool they all lived in Montana and I would pretend that it was "Indian country" - which in many ways it was - and still is.

Without it being said, I always knew I was a City girl when visiting this side of the family. You just know you're different in a can't-put-my-finger-on-it different. Our world views and how we did things were a constant source of curiosity on my part. I loved these trips.

Since we didn't see each other but once a year, I learned the fun skill of creative letter writing. We wrote pages of news to each other. And, not just pages, it was how those pages were created - from rolls of adding machine tape, to circular and puzzle styling...the art of creative writing took on a whole new meaning. 

My Country Cousins' living gave great room for imagination. On one occasion, my older cousin and I took a row boat out on Lake Mary Ronan to do some fishing. And...we fished...and...we fished...pulling in about 40 sunfish into our boat (it's true - all documented in my childhood diary)! I don't know what we did with them after that - but, we sure had a great time.

Then there was the time an elder Uncle took us to ride horses on his property nearby. He saddled up the horses and sent us off into the cow pasture. In that pasture was one hefty bull. Needless to say, this inexperienced city girl got quite nervous...ok...scared...and was done for the day. Which irritated our Uncle since we weren't out more than 1/2 hour.

Ah, yes....

We also visited the cousins who lived on a farm. My uncle harvested wheat so my brothers discovered sliding down the mounds of wheat in the barn. I didn't like the itching results, but did get to experience the harvesting while riding on the combine machine. Scary but thrilling. One morning as my dad and uncle were talking over coffee, I asked, "Can we ride the concubine today?" They burst out laughing - I didn't know what I said while the hot color appeared on my cheeks.

Drinking raw milk gave me another Country pause as grass floated on the top of the milking pail. Well water was the other farm beverage which tasted pretty nasty to my citified taste buds. "Normal" for my farm cousins. Adventures for me.

Cousins - memories and foundations to build on for a life time.

What memories trigger for you with your cousins?

I'm the baby with my Aunt Chris.
Brother LeRoy standing next to her,
cousins Wanda and Steve with my Dad - about 1956

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