A Special Treat

One of the things that has been the hardest for me to adjust to about getting older has been the *shrinking* of our extended family. My parents each have only one sibling, and I only have four first cousins, but with Granny Kitty being one of 11 siblings, the great-aunts and uncles, second cousins, and their families more than made up for it. Throw in a few of Papaw Brown's cousins, and the Indian relations in Oklahoma, and I grew up with a rich heritage of extended family relationships.

It makes me sad sometimes that my children don't have that same environment and will never know so many of the characters who pepper my childhood and young adult memories except through my stories. So...when an opportunity for my children to have a taste of *distant relations* comes along, it is a special treat.

This weekend was definitely that. While I grew up seeing many of my dad's cousins almost as extra aunts and uncles, I had gone 39 years without meeting either of my mom's two first cousins. Until this weekend! Mother's cousin Linda came to visit this weekend, and it was such a delight to get to meet her. We spent some time out at the nursing home with my grandfather, and then had a big family lunch at Emlyn's favorite eatery: The Chinese Kitchen. :-) (Much to Bay's chagrin..."Chinese AGAIN??")

The best part of the day, though, was discovering that Linda is a pianist. I've been hearing stories about her all my life, but somehow missed that detail. We had a discussion at lunch about those who truly have a gift for playing by ear versus those who work and practice to become proficient musicians, and the fact that when someone truly has that *gift*, you can just tell it. Linda actually is a blend of both...you could tell within seconds of her hands touching the keys that she is one of those who obviously has *the gift*, yet she also studied piano seriously from the time she was 8 through college. It's such a delight to hear someone who can sit and play practically anything you request, from hymns, to patriotic songs, to old showtunes, and make it look completely effortless. (Despite it being a mite depressing to realize now that that gene flows through *both* sides of my family tree, and it not just skipped me, but skidded to a stop and *catapulted* over me!)
Quite a crowd gathered in the dining room to listen and to sing with us. One lady in particular had a beautiful soprano voice and she and I had a wonderful time harmonizing to one hymn after another. The residents ate it up and begged Linda to come back, which she has promised to do sometime this summer. They are not the only ones looking forward to that! The children were really sad to see her go, and looking forward already to her coming back. She has promised to do her best to bring her mother, Aunt Frances, and her brother, Denton (the other cousin I've never met), back with her when she comes. I can't wait!

The only thing that consoled the kids was that Aunt Marlena (who came with Linda this weekend on the Little Rock to Fort Smith leg of the trip) has promised that she and Uncle Ken (and a bevy of little dogs, I'm sure ;-)) will be back for a visit soon. The kids are always excited to see them. :)

The day was made even more exciting by a stray dog, whose story will have to remain untold for the moment. It was quite a visit, and we are definitely looking forward to more!

1 comment:

Joyful Days said...

What a blessing to meet your cousin & it looks like a time of wonderful memories!! How sweet to have that chance!