Tag Archives: cousin

Aqua Velva Granddad

I tried to mashup a couple facebook posts my cousin and I traded after a meetup a couple months ago. I thought it could be cut into a sort of conversation poem. The beginning sounds to me like we’re gearing up to sing a duet on a 70’s variety show.  But I like where it ends up.

So good to see cousin Kari and her kids last night. Summers spent with her and her brother Brandin at Granddad Sears’s place in the southeast Kansas boonies are highlights of my childhood memories.

Matt, you nailed it.  I’ve tried to express what was special about that place, and this is it exactly.  It was not just the place but the people, and not just the people but also the place.

In hindsight, those nights spent in the tent or lean-to, my cousins, my brother, and me, with the coyotes roaming around us, or at least across the road, were some of my first experiences with a world bigger than Dickinson County, Kansas.

For this metropolitan cousin it was a wonderland, and my cousins were different from us, but also so much the same.

Stories from my cousins of a Seattle school with hundreds and hundreds of students.

The coyotes, the TV antenna.

This game soccer, which was played competitively for a whole season, not just a few days in P.E.

The inevitable ticks that just weren’t a big deal,

the horse,

the dogs,

the trenches.

Their dad, my uncle, the Vulcan who took his face off at night.

Sending grasshoppers into space on bottle rockets (“First grasshopper in space!!!”)

We’d while away the night figuring out what the first though third base really equated to on a date. (This long before I had ever rounded first.)

The cantaloupes!

the “rockety road.”

And the horrible, long and pointless jokes whose punch lines became as funny (to us) alone as they did attached to the jokes.

The fishing pond,

the Aqua Velva granddad.

Highlights of my childhood memories.

Not just the place but the people, and not just the people but also the place.


I got the fever


Remember back in the 70’s when you could joke about Rocky Mountain spotted fever? This year I had a colleague come down with the RMSF and was out for several days. Anyway, I’m sure this button comes from the Colorado cousins. I can kind of remember visiting them in Ft. Collins (I think), but mostly in Alamosa. I remember brother Mike and I hanging out one afternoon with Cousin Eric who was maybe five years older than me. He may have been a senior in high school at the time. We went down to the Rio Grande, which was a short walk from their back yard; Eric built a fire, caught a craw dad, wrapped it in foil with catchup, cooked it and ate it; we swam and played in the river; Eric showed us his bow and various arrows, and let us attempt to shoot it; he introduced us to some of his friends at this old cabin/derelict house/hideout kind of place where they kept a huge collection of dirty magazines (ok, that part was a bit awkward). But overall it was a great afternoon in an otherwise typically mundane family vacation. Eric was very cool to his little cousins. Like his sister Lynn from a previous post, Eric is also an artist, sculpting these cool bronzes. You can see some of his stuff here.



I’m not sure what this button was used for. It appears to be a name tag, maybe. Of course I know who Lynn is. She’s my oldest first cousin. I’m not sure exactly how much older, but I’m going to say 7ish years older. As a result, when the family got together I spent less time with her than with other cousins (plus she was a girl), so somehow she wasn’t that interested in running around the farm throwing dirt clods at each other. What I do remember about her as a kid is two things. One is her laughing. Sitting around the table or around the family room, she was quick with a funny remark and quicker to laugh out loud at something someone else had said. I liked that. The other is that she was the first teenager I spent any extended time around. I remember watching in quiet wonder at her outbursts because her folks told her she was taking too long to get ready or because one of the adults had said something ignorant. Oh, and she also had amazing 70s hair. Yeah, I had a crush on my cousin, so what. Lynn is still funny, plus she’s an amazing artist, teacher, and mother. I hardly ever get to see her anymore. Hopefully I can do some traveling in the years to come and remedy that.