Cousins, June 1968
"Families are like fudge... mostly sweet with a few nuts." ~ Author Unknown
"If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion." ~ Ashleigh BrilliantI took my parents to Illinois, yes Illinois, for a family reunion of sorts this weekend. Dad thought it was a ten hour drive. It isn't. But I knew that. It looks like the same distance as to Mississippi and that takes at least fifteen hours. It was fifteen hours, 850 miles. A lot of snoring went on in that car, a lot of FOX News and the 40's Hits channel on satellite radio too.
Saturday we went on to Bible Grove, Illinois; my dad's home town. His brother Jerry and his wife Orpha celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The church is a small country church but their kids did a great job. It was warm and filled with pictures of times past. Uncle Jerry looked a bit uncomfortable in his Sunday best, he is most comfortable in his farming jeans. Aunt Orpha was radiant in her formal dress. The true picture of marriage as it was meant to be sat at the head table. My mom and dad at 55 years; Orpha's brother and his wife at 48 years; Orpha and Jerry at 50 years; John and Laura Beth at 50 years this October; Lewis and Jean at 49 years.
Of fourteen first cousins, nine were able to attend. One I hadn't seen in over 30 years, one I had never seen. We shared stories of our childhood, tried to remember who came in what order (I'm the oldest, they ALL reminded me of that), memories of our grandparents and the farm, caught up on what we were doing now and the complications of aging parents. We have several standup comics in the family, thank goodness my brother wasn't there... we would have had to pass out the Depends. It was a wonderful party with joy and family and great food.
Of course all things come to an end, so on Sunday morning at 3AM Eastern time we set out again and came home. I drove all the way there and back. (The driving of both my parents scares me.) I don't advise anyone to drive 30 hours in a 72 hour span.
This picture is from 1968. At that time there were eleven of us. I think they lined us up by age. I was fifteen and Ricky, whom I was holding, was the baby at the time. Three more came later. That's my brother Stephen on the far left, hands in his pockets, looking off into space. What a crew!
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