October 3, 2021

Hosting a Cousin's Lunch

This past Saturday, we hosted a Cousin's Lunch. It's not as grand as it may (or may not) sound, but these small get-togethers are a high point for me. Several years ago, pre-pandemic, me and my two surviving first cousins decided we didn't sit down at the table together enough, the way we did when we were younger, and we wanted to remedy that. We decided to meet for lunch every quarter. The Covid-19 pandemic derailed us, but we hope that's a thing of the past. 

I decided to invite them to an afternoon on our patio so we could enjoy each other's company and the glorious autumn weather. The patio is screened so insects are not a problem. Our new countertop provided the perfect staging area for the food and left us plenty of room at the table. The lunch fare was pure picnic with hamburgers, potato and macaroni salads, Cole slaw, baked beans, apple cider, apple cake, and some chips and dips. We are blessed with abundance and we all ate too much. 

Maybe it's a sign of being older, but I didn't stress about hosting my cousins. We did a cursory "house cleaning" and let it go at that. The house is always clean enough to be safe and dirty enough to keep our immune systems paying attention. Deuce was a perfect gentleman pup, and I do mean PERFECT.  The one cousin-in-law has been less than enthusiastic about dogs (I think she's a bit afraid of them) and even she had not one snark over his presence. Lunch lasted late into the afternoon as we were all reluctant to part company again.  Next fall, I hope we can do it again. 

And maybe next fall, if we're able to gather, I'll reach out to a girl who is a second cousin to me and D, but not R. They know each other, that's not the 'issue.' We started the cousin's lunch for the first cousins, but now that we're getting older, maybe it's time to include L. I'd certainly like that. She and I were very close growing up. 

It's bittersweet to reflect back with memories of our youth. We've all lost parents, and R has lost his brother, too. My mother has Alzheimer's Disease and is lost to me and the world. Time was our Christmas happened on Christmas Eve at D's house when his mother hosted all of us for dinner and gift exchange. We became teenagers in the 1970's and we hung out together. Life got busy for us but now I'm the last one still working, something that I'm trying to remedy. 

Our memories are a big part of who we are, and I'm so grateful to be making new ones with my cousins. Time has become precious, and spending more time with the people who have been most important to me for all of my life is a high priority. 

I'm reminded of some very special words from artist Neil Young: 
We've been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather

Long may you run, long may you run
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining
In the sun long may you run.
Long may you run. 

Long may we run. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)

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