Sunday, January 14, 2007

Second Cousins

My great aunt on my father's side has five grandchildren which would be my second cousins. I've known them since I was a little kid because my great aunt and my grandmother lived in the same town in Texas. Family get-togethers often saw all of us there at the same time.

My great aunt (Joyce) just adored her grandchildren. They were five boys, all about two years apart in age. The middle one was my age. I remember that the five boys all had three-letter names. In order of appearance, they were Dan, Kim, Rob, Jay and Ben.

Aunt Joyce just thought they hung the moon. Whenever I'd see Aunt Joyce, all she would do was to relay what each of the boys were doing, how old they were, their accomplishments, etc. "Oh, hello Buck. Well Jay just started high school, Ben is playing football this year, Kim is in college now. . . . "

I don't recall any of them doing anything extraordinary; they were just normal guys as far as I could tell.

At one family dinner at my great grandmother's house (Big-Mama), I was about to take a seat and Aunt Joyce exclaimed, "Oh! Don't sit there! That place is for Kim."

Apparently, her five grandchildren got to sit at the "big persons" table in the dining room. The rest of us were relegated to eating gruel out behind the house.

This went on for as long as I can recall.

My grandmother passed away when I was about 24 years old. Since our grandmothers were the common denominator, I didn't see my second cousins anymore after that.

Just a few years ago, my youngest cousin was getting married in an outdoor wedding on the family ranch. It had been years and years since I'd seen Aunt Joyce and I just assumed she'd passed away.

Just before the wedding, here came Aunt Joyce tottering up to take her seat, escorted by her son. I whispered to my brother, "She's still alive??"

So, I went over to her, knelt down and said, "Hello, Aunt Joyce. It's Buck."

In her shaky, elderly voice, she said, "Oh, hello Buck. Well, Kim's son is in college, Jay is living in Houston, Rob is . . . . "


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