Thanksgiving is this week. My brother and his family will soon be in our house. No, it’s not like that…we have a great time. My brother’s wife is a much better cook than I am and they have great kids…One nephew is on his way to becoming a major motion picture star. One nephew has already promised that he’ll come live with us when he plays with the Danville Braves on his way to the top. And my niece? I am pretty certain she’ll be in politics.
Every year when they arrive, I am taken back to my childhood holiday trips to see the cousins. It was awesome. Now, you need to understand that I have very little in common with my cousins, but it never mattered. We just picked up where we left off and had a good time. My brother and I were the youngest, so everyone looked out for us. If the older kids got hurt, my grandmother would pat them on the head and tell them they would be fine. But if my brother fell in the gravel or got lost on the road, everyone was in trouble.
I remember going two or three years before we were all together again. And suddenly I’d spend the afternoon working on a craft project with one of the girls or trying to master volleyball in my uncle’s back yard, or taking Nama’s coffee cans to make bug cages with anyone who was willing to go along.
For holidays, my grandparents would rearrange the dining room and the living room so everyone could sit together. (There was no Kids’ Table at Nama’s house.) We all sat at one long table. Every bench and chair in the house was brought in. There was food in every corner. There was a lot of noise because everyone was laughing and telling some new story. At least one of us would do something to embarrass our parents at every meal…yes, it was a holiday, but it was bigger than that….it was Cousin Fest.
When my nephews and nieces show up this year, Clarke will say what he says every year. “Enjoy this.” And they will all look at him as if he has no idea what the future holds. But he knows. Cousin Fest will fade into more serious visits.
Have you called your cousins this year? Be sure to relish in the memories of Cousin Fest. And if your cousins are with you this holiday season, play the best games – the ones that are loud and funny and leave you laughing until you cry. (I miss my cousins. We would laugh until our well-fed tummies ached and our cheeks hurt – of course, that had a lot to do with my uncle…)
No, I’m not campaigning to rename Thanksgiving. I’m just saying the memories are made right here and now. And every part of your family – even those friends that you forget you’re not actually related to – is a special part of this season.
Here’s to Cousin Fest!