Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Distance Between Cousins

Distant cousins. The distance across the United States that prevents us from learning more about one another. A person who is known only as a name on a family tree. We all have them. People who share our own genes. Those my parent knew, but I do not. Those children raised away from the homestead who never knew their extended family. We all have them.

Yesterday I received a CD from a second cousin who has had a stellar career. Our paths would probably never have crossed had I not wanted to meet this cousin. Because he was famous? Maybe just a little, but more so for another reason. He is the grandson of my dear Great Uncle Jerry. As I have mentioned before, Uncle Jerry is the man who taught me to sing. Now his grandson sings.

My cousin and I do not write or talk often. Once in awhile I receive a call. He just wants to catch up.

Uncle Jerry would be thrilled that I cared enough to contact this cousin. He would love that we talk about the horse I received when Uncle Jerry passed, the conversations about the great grandparents, the simple questions like, "How is your family." I still have a piece of my uncle in this contact with his grandson.

I care about those cousins far away. I care about those who still live on Neff Road. I miss that my children have few memories with their cousins. My grandchildren have none. Yes, my roots are deep on Neff Road with those who settled there long before I came to be. I think I would like to have a family tree that just showed the interest of the people. Who was the artist, the singer, the story teller? Who had a scientific mind, a curiosity? What thread has been carried on in the genes to this current generation? What makes me write and my son sing? What makes my granddaughters draw and my daughter create knitted toys that everyone begs for? What makes us want to dance? Who came before and felt the same pull?

Maybe the distance between cousins doesn't have to be so far. Maybe it just takes people who care.

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