I’m home from the Cousins Reunion in the hills. We rented a giant log home (seriously! 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, a 10-butt kitchen–really giant!), set among the hills and forests in the southern part of our state. Twenty of us gathered to celebrate being family and to share pictures, memories, and lots of food, wine, and love. I met ten new cousins and reunited with nine others. We hugged, laughed, cried, and told tales on one another and on our parents and grandparents.
We started the celebration by finding our rooms and settling in. Then the fun began with a snacks and dessert buffet (Thanks Cousin Mags, for 3 cheesecakes, 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies, 2 pound cakes, and 24 chocolate cupcakes in addition to snack mix!). The bar went without saying–wine, beer, and some other tasty drinks were available. I tasted a couple of great wines and sipped pineapple rum and diet coke over ice. Icy pineapple just seemed to suit the late summer weather. Meals were pitch-in family affairs with some of us setting up, some of us doing the actual cooking, and others cleaning up. Every meal worked with the ease of folks who’d been in a kitchen together for generations.
Our genealogy expert Cousins set up one room to hold laptops, a scanner, and all the information, pictures, and history about our family. That room and the adjoining great room were where we lived. Photos got passed among the group and scanned for anyone who wanted a copy. Fragile letters and papers were displayed and read aloud. Magnifying glasses came out as we all examined old, old photos and tried to figure out who was who. We learned fascinating facts about our ancestors, and each of us received a beautiful personalized binder with a family tree and family history in it.
So enthralled were we all with one another’s company that we didn’t even leave the house, except to make an ice run or go out to enjoy the evening breeze on the wide veranda that overlooked the hills and valleys. There was simply too much to share, too much to see, and too much to do. One fun treat was watching four of our cousins dance ballroom and West Coast swing! We played games, had prizes, and laughed until our sides ached–one day I’ll tell you about the hilarious afternoon of Apples to Apples that went on–it may be its own post! Let me just entice you with three words, sultry creamed corn…
Mostly though we talked…and talked…and talked… We learned to know one another, came to love one another more, and grew close–just like family. What amazed me most was how we all seemed to connect almost immediately. Uncertain and shy moments lasted only as long as it took to hug and say hello–it was truly a spiritual experience.
One of my darling cousins sent us all a note pre-Reunion that says it all:
I am almost overwhelmed by what I am about to experience. Can you feel the excitement and the love in each email we have been sending back and forth to each other? We are quite a group. Yes we are. And I can’t wait to reunite and meet and hug each and every one of you! ‘Til then my family…
I’m hoping my dear cousins will read this, so I’ll tell them here, thanks for a glorious experience! Big cuzzie love to you all! I can’t wait for next time!