Wednesday, January 4, 2017

...Up The Country

Something weird has been going on with me lately, well, I mean, more than the usual garden variety weirdness that I deal with on a daily basis. Suddenly, it seems, I have become obsessed with the goings on of my cousins who live up the country. These are all people who were a big part of my life . . . when I was ten, but since then not so much. Like all large families, ours spread out and drifted apart so I lost touch with most of them for the longest time. But then three things happened. My parents both passed away,  I went to a family reunion, and. . . Facebook.

When you lose your parents you become more introspective, I suppose. You begin to think about your past, where you came from. Both of mine came from Buckingham County, Virginia. When I was a kid I spent lots of time there and it was a wonderful experience. In my memory, my grand parents were giants. The farm was big and green and full of animals and open spaces. It was also a little scary what with it's oddly painted rooms and dim lighting. Little things stood out. There was always Dr. Pepper in the fridge. My grandmother seemed forever in the kitchen cooking something, wearing an apron and patting me on the head.

Then there were my cousins. There seemed to be a million of them. There was Bootsie, Bubby, Peggy and Joanne, Brenda, Donna and Bertha Sue, Derrick, Michael and Caroline. My Uncle Harry had a couple of boys too but I didn't see them much so I forget their names. One of them was Kent, maybe?  It was a large and impressive brood. For a five year old boy, they were all great fun to be around.

But as life progressed I lost touch with most of them. We moved to Richmond. They stayed up the country. There were family reunions and I went to a couple of them over the years, but reunions were for people like Mom and Dad who never seemed to tire of them. I tried to avoid them most years and honestly can't tell you why, I just did.

But, this past October there was another one and this time, I went. It was amazing. I wrote about it at the time so I won't go through it all again but suffice it to say that seeing them all sparked something in me. When I got back to Richmond, I friended many of them on Facebook so now I feel more connected to their lives. Second and even third cousins now routinely pop up in my newsfeed. I look at the things they care about and the things they are involved in and I feel very proud of them. It's as if when Mom and Dad passed, something in me has longed to find a new link to them. That link is the James River State Park where my mother's homeplace used to be.

Now, Peggy, Joanne and Bubby all have kids with kids of their own. I'm getting to know them on Facebook, which is weird, but better late than never.