hooray for cousins

Posted: October 9, 2007 in family

By my count I think I have 21 first cousins. Yeah, a lot. Big families on both my mom and dad’s sides. I know them all by name, but most of them I hardly know, simply because they are much younger than me. My cousins Todd & Matt (brothers) are very close to my age, and we used to have amazing adventures on our grandparents farm when we were growing up. Hay forts, tobacco stick sword fights, long wades through a long and windy creek, treating the barns as if they were abandoned castles. I have some great memories of those times.

My favorite cousin though – not to offend all the others – is Dianna. She’s 1 year older than me, and we’ve been great friends since we were about 3-4 years old. Coincidentally, the same age as our children – Elijah and Eliza – shown in the picture above. This past weekend, we went to Kingsport to visit them. It was the first time in 2 years that Eli and Eliza saw each other. They played with puzzles, a train set, at the park, and had a blast at Chuck E Cheese.

I have countless memories of the last 28 years of friendship with Dianna. Most of them make me laugh, but you probably wouldn’t find them that funny, since they’re sort of inside-joke kind of stuff. For instance, she was obsessed with Phil Collins back in the 80’s. When she sent me letters – we were pen pals for a LONG time – she used to return address them as “Dianna Collins”. This happened for years. We used to love to sing “Su-Su-Sudio…Oh, Oh”, a Phil Collins favorite. Then there’s the story about how much I love Manwich, and she and I laughing so hard in the car about it, I almost had to pull off to the side of the road. If she’s reading this right now, she’s laughing. The rest of you are saying, “I don’t get it.” I understand.

My first time ever going to a Piggly Wiggly was with Dianna. Her New Kids on the Block love affair could have rivaled any other girl’s in America. When it was time for me to go to college, I wanted to attend Milligan College in east Tennessee more than anything….mainly because Dianna was already there. Unfortunately, I simply could not afford it. We wrestled with our uncle Brian together. We served at weeks of church camp together. And I had the amazing pleasure of presiding over her wedding to Corey in 1998. It was the only wedding ceremony I ever conducted.

I hope Eli and Eliza have the same opportunity to grow up as friends. It would be very special to both of us. His other new cousin – Grayson – is only 2 weeks old. We’ll have the opportunity this weekend to see him for the first time. It’s highly unlikely Eli will ever have 21 cousins. I’m thinking it will be more like 6 or 7. But if he can enjoy even half the experiences that I did with my cousins, then 6 or 7 will be more than enough.
  1. x-ray chick says:

    I grew up close with many of my cousins. It breaks my heart now that I don’t get to talk to some of them. I never know why they stopped talking to me. I don’t think I ever will. I can just pray for em. And keep talking with my cousins that I still talk too, and love it!

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