Monday, July 13, 2009

Journal for Christa, (June 7, 2009)

After researching genealogies, Mom says my great, great, great grandmother's sister could have easily populated most of southern Illinois. Then, by Mom marrying into my dad's family, I figure I’m most certainly related, directly or indirectly, to about everyone in the bottom part of the state.

I come from a large extended family, mostly typical of the Midwest. If I’m ever asked to tell something unusual about myself, I share that I have 78 first cousins. My dad's parents had 49 grandchildren, and Grandma couldn’t figure out why none of her children would oblige her request for one more to make an even 50. Mom's side makes up the remainder. Being somewhat in the middle of all that, there were always older cousins to envy, an aunt’s high-heeled shoes to sneak into, and babies to cuddle. A world without cousins is incomprehensible to me. Of course, we were always closer to the ones nearest our age and those who lived around us.

Get-togethers were and are potluck and better than any church potluck fare. Grandma always made peach cobbler, probably because it was my dad’s favorite; but I always thought it was because it was mine. So, after Grandma and Grandpa passed away, Mom procured one of her two cobbler dishes for me. I also loved her homemade dumplings. When I was a young wife, I asked her if I could have her dumpling recipe—to which she responded, “Recipes? Either you know how to cook or you don’t.” Apparently, I didn’t. I’ve also always thought the role of aunts and uncles were simply to like you just the way you are—with a little teasing thrown in now and then.

This week we’ve spent several days up at the cabin with Dan, Jay’s brother, and his wife, Marne’. It seems strange to be here without all of our children—the cousins. Marne’ and I have reminisced a lot about Thanksgiving dinners, New Year’s Eves, and visits to their cabin that our families have enjoyed over the years. Now, miles apart, those cousins keep up with each other on facebook; and Dan and Marne’, too, laugh at Chris’s posted videos, and I chat on occasion with their college girls.

In two weeks most of our children and grandchildren will spend part of their Colorado vacation with Jay and me at the cabin. Even though these four little cousins are all under two, I hope it’s the start of many happy cousin days ahead. And maybe—I’ll just make a peach cobbler.

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