Cousins

I am really so sorry for my infrequent posts. What kind of writer blogs once a month? Solution: stop washing dishes and cleaning out my purse. Sit down. Put words together. (Combine with coffee, fresh air, and peace and tranquility.) This is my vow: I will do better. I will write more. Hold me to it, please. This laptop is good for more than email-checking, facebook updates, and silly news articles about stuff like Katy Perry canceling her concerts in Chicago and St. Paul due to food poisoning (thank you, gmail, for such invigorating links to click on).

There are weeks when I think,”What in the world should I write on my blog?” I go through a cycle every time. I want to write, but I find I have nothing to say. No words. This is when I fail you, reader. This is when guilt comes, like a headache, and refuses to leave.

The remedy for this is simple: get out of the house. Go somewhere! You know, sometimes we just have to go out and find our words in the richness of life. If there’s one thing I know, it is that words dart away from me when I am sitting alone, staring at my blank screen, like pepper in soapy water. You know – like in that elementary school experiment when kids stick their soapy fingers in water and the pepper jumps to the side of the glass? (Did I get that right? Is that how it works?)

Yet once in a blue moon, when I’m really lucky, my words do just fine me. People often gift-wrap them and leave them on my doorstep: hey, I have a word just for you. Maybe at the grocery store, deciding between two flavors of yogurt. Maybe at the copier at the public library, talking to a friendly lady on crutches (she made a lot of copies). Maybe on your facebook wall (thanks, Julie). They find me like the man in the movies who appears from the shadows with an important telegraph for the main actress, a murmur in their ear, a tap on the shoulder.

Often, mine also find me in bed just after I hit the light switch. Staring at nothing has a way of waking up my brain. I lay for a minute in the dark and suddenly touch the cold wall, feeling for the light switch, and reach for my notebook, greeted by nighttime words.

All that to say, this week a bunch of words found me, so blog posts are forthcoming. Not that you need me to write, but I need me to write. This was more for me than for you.

And you thought this post was about cousins!

Okay, well, enough bunny trails. Let’s talk about cousins.

Over the fourth of July weekend, I found my cousins. To put it another way, they found me, too. We found one other in the deep south, at a family reunion, after years of separation and unfamiliarity and stereotypes. I wrote a little poem about the experience. It was a lovely three days of stitching together familial relationships that should’ve existed all our adolescent lives, but for various reasons, didn’t.

My cousins are in the picture at the top of the page: from left to right, Noah, Hannah, my sister Ashley, Ridge, Bryar, and me. Six-year-old Justice was too short to make the header width (sorry, bud). They are Texans. They participate in 4-H and play weird games like “Underground Church” with their friends and drive like a hundred miles to get to the movie theater. They like biscuits and gravy. They talk southern.

They’re family, and guess what: I love them to death. I think they love me, too. We all decided it would have been nice to have met years ago, when we were little tikes and the thing to do was romp around with your cousins on holidays. But it’s too late for that, so we’ll take what we can get. In the meantime, love your cousins. Love your family. And enjoy my silly little poem.

In the backwoods of Alabama

Forty years ago

with Mom, Pop, and Rowdy watching

two boys, skinny-legged and squinty-eyed,

on bicycles, in the creek, shared

a pony and shot shotguns.

Over cokes at the corner store

my dad and your dad

became

brothers.

A few days ago

with my dad, your dad, and Mac Mac watching

seven offspring, skinny-legged and squinty-eyed

on cell phones, in the A/C, shared

hesitant hellos and shot BB guns.

Over sundaes at the Ice Cream Corner

all my cousins and I

became

friends.

 

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One thought on “Cousins

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Brooke. 🙂 Consistency in blogging has been a problem for me, too…unless we can consider “never posting” constant….I’ll do better this week.

    I loved the poem, and the post. Cousins are the greatest friends you don’t have to choose. I’ve already told you about all my crazy cousins. I wouldn’t be the same without them. Loud, odd, obnoxious or not, they are my people. The parts of me I am most proud of come from them.

    I would love to hear more about your trip down South! My own trip to Tennessee was hot, busy, fun, and done far too soon. I got to re-meet a different kind of cousin: The Second Cousins! My cousin Brandon and his wife Rachel have three kids: Faith (6), Tucker (5), and Molly Grace (3). Every time I see the kids I feel like it’s the first time. They change so quick! Faith is getting so smart, Tucker is just silly, and Molly is Miss Independent. I love seeing how much they’ve learned and grown. It’s too bad they live far away, but it makes their changes seem more drastic. I can’t wait to meet them again around Christmas.

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