I'm going to guess that you recognize me in this photo...(hint: I'm the one in blue). The lady you probably don't know is my cousin Carol! Everybody, this is Carol, Carol, this is Everybody. Say Hi to Carol Everybody! :) (don't you love her tropical shirt!)
Carol is one of my Michigan relatives and she was in Florida visiting scads of other friends and relatives and took the time and trouble to drive all the heck the way to Venice to visit Tim and I on Sunday! It was so grand to see her again. It's been far too long. I think it might be in the vicinity of ten years or so. Yikes! Too long.
We enjoyed our visit with her so much! She and Tim really hit it off. It was as if they had known each other for years! (I'm not sure why it is that she and Tim never met before but mysteriously it is the truth) But then, anybody would enjoy spending time with her. Carol is a wonderful person to start with, but it's also that she has led a fascinating life. Well, everyone is interesting, truly. But Carol's life has been really, really interesting. You doubt me?
Let's just start with the fact that at the tender age of ten she was already a drummer in a band. I'm talking a real band. One that traveled to perform on the regular, a band that cut records. See? Interesting life. Other interesting things, hmmm, well, she studied for the seminary. Not everyone does that. But she ended up instead being a powerhouse in a large company there in Michigan. She has met loads of interesting people and traveled to wonderful places and has exciting tales to tell. Like I said, a Very Interesting person!
Joy and I were always closer to our Michigan cousins than our Maine cousins. Not that we didn't like our Maine relatives, they were just so much older than us that when we were kids, they were just kind of lumped in with the grownups. Grownups are not very interesting or fun to kids. (Strangely, the gap between our ages shrunk considerably as we grew up) But during our kiddo-years, whenever Joy and I heard that we were going to Michigan, which was always to visit relatives, secretly we were delighted. More Kids to Play With! Yay!
My dad only had one sibling, his brother, our uncle, Wilbur whom everyone called Shorty. Uncle Shorty was married to our Aunt Letha whom Joy and I called Aunt Lee. Together than had five kids whose ages were all right there around ours. Colour us happy! Five playmates whenever we visted. We adored hanging out with them! Kay, Ken, Carol, Bill, Annette. We always said their names in that order, oldest to youngest. Kay was a teensy bit older than me, Ken was right around my age, Carol a wee bit younger, Bill a tad younger and Annette, as the youngest was just so adorable you couldn't leave her out either. Together, the seven of us were a formidable kid force.
Side note: I honestly never gave a single thought to the fact that my Uncle's name was "Shorty". As a kid I didn't question it. My dad was Larry and his brother was Shorty. It wasn't until I was 13 (kind embarrassing to admit it took that long for me to realize this) when I told a friend that I couldn't come over because my Aunt Lee and Uncle Shorty was coming to visit. And my friend said, "What's his real name?" that it dawned on me that Shorty could not possibly be his real name and that I had NO idea what his real name was. Wow! Talk about me being oblivous, right?
Anyway, back to the cousins. Because we moved around so much, we never lived near our any relatives. We always had to travel to see them so it wasn't the kind of relationship that people have when families spend their entire lives in close proximity to each other. In those lucky families, cousins are more like siblings. But regardless of where we were living at the time, every time we saw our Michigan cousins again, it was as if no time had actually passed. I'm not sure if it was the family bond, DNA or just similar personalities but we just always got along.
Of course even if we didn't see each other live and in person, we knew what was going on in each other's lives because our parents talked and wrote letters and occasionally visited each other, so we were kept up to date on the family doings. And now in the age of social media, it's even easier to hear from each other, see photos and therefore stay in touch that way. But it's never the same as seeing each other live and in person.
When I traveled with my Dad in the 70's back to Michigan to visit, just my Dad and I, no one was surprised when Carol and I took off during yet another adult yakkityak session. We stayed out so incredibly late that by the time we got back it was early. We talked, laughed, and drove around and ate pie (somewhere...can't imagine where on earth we found pie at that hour!). Carol and I didn't even discuss it ahead of time. There we were sitting in a room surrounded by people who we were related to but were all at least one and usually more generations older than us, trying to not yawn, when I caught Carol's eye and did one of those head nods and eyebrow questions that say, "Wanna get the heck outta here?" And she did a head nod, wink and smile that said, "Darn Tootin' I do!" . So without a single word exchanged, we politely and quietly left the room and then laughed like lunatics all the way to her car feeling as if we had made the Great Escape.
I don't believe I saw Carol again until, once again my Dad and I, went to Michigan to visit my grandmother who was very sick in the hospital. Once again, as my Dad and his brother and other relatives talked amongst themselves, Carol and I colluded and gave Grandma a manicure culminating in us painting our 90 something year old Grandmother's fingernails a particularly beguiling shade of red. Grandma couldn't take her eyes off those bright red fingernails. She showed everyone who walked in the door and gave us full credit. I'm not sure if she was bragging about us, or complaining about us honestly, but we enjoyed giving her the attention. In truth, I suspect that was the first time Grandma had ever had a manicure.
The stories go on and on of course, but the blogpost will not. Let's just suffice it to us that it was an absolute delight to visit with Carol again yesterday. And I hope we see her again before so much time passes again. And a wee bit of advice, if you have family that you haven't seen in a long time, it's probably time to visit them again.
Thanks again for dinner Carol. We had a Blast!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.