I once read that cousins are your first friends. If you had siblings, that might not be true. But I am an only child. I had no brothers or sisters to play with. But I had a plethora of cousins, twenty-two to be exact.
I was one of the younger cousins:number 20. One year older than me were the triplets and one year younger was Jay. The triplets belonged to my Uncle Bob, who had five other children. Jay belonged to my Uncle George who also had five more. With that many kids, both these families had a whole lot more activity than ever happened in my house. And a LOT more fun.
My cousins remind me that I usually came over dressed in frills and patent leather shoes. As adults do everywhere, they sent the kids out to play while they visited. I’m not sure what exactly my parents were thinking to dress me that way and expect me to stay clean while playing with those crews. Once I could understand, but I pretty much always spoiled my clothes climbing trees and playing in the mud.
As I’ve got older, I still love my cousins. Life is busier and fuller for all of us these days, and we don’t get to see each other so much any more. So, when one set of cousins recently invited me to join them to revisit some of the settings of our childhoods, I took advantage.
I was only able to spend one day with them, but it was a really great day. I have such fabulous memories of the time they lived in Brightwood, Oregon. We stopped at the store and found the house they lived in. I’m sure it was much larger back then.
We looked over the bridge into the Sandy River where Jay once accidentally threw his new fishing rod. There was the house that Maureen cleaned. Here was the house of Charlie’s good friend. Things were so different and still so much the same.
We went all the way up Mt. Hood to Timberline Lodge, where I accosted total strangers to ask favors. One lovely woman took this photo:Then I asked a really nice young man what that little bump on the left was called. Turns out he loves to climb the mountain and told us all about it. That little bump is called Illumination Peak. Then there is Illumination Saddle and Crater Peak, and the Old Mazama Chute. He told us all about climbing the mountain, including the history of the women of the Mazamas who climbed it in long, wool skirts.
That evening we sat around and reminisced over fabulous lasagna made by Marlene. Then we all piled into Charlie’s fifth wheel to visit a bit more and finally go to sleep. In the morning it was doughnuts and ice cream for breakfast. And then I had to drive home.
I’m so blessed to have such wonderful cousins. I love them and they love me.