Saturday, September 1


I come from a very large family. In addition to my immediate family of 7 - Dad Carl, Mom Paula, Karen, Denise, me, Gordon and Susan - plus spouses, significant others and children... Well, a holiday weekend means a LOT of people! My father was one of three kids and they had 3 and 4 children, who each had a few... The number of aunts, uncles and cousins is daunting. And, of course, my family has always welcomed even more people to our happy band.

Today I got to spend time with some family members that I don't get to see very often. My cousin (I can't keep track of the first, second, once removed stuff...) Elizabeth, her husband Boon and their daughter Autumn came up to visit for the weekend. When we were kids we didn't see Elizabeth's family much. No, not some Jerry Springer reason like our fathers didn't speak because her Dad shot my Dad's favorite hunting dog. Nope, it was just geography. They lived someplace in North Carolina and we just saw them once every year or so. I always thought her Dad - my Uncle Jimmy - was the most colorful character in our family. He got busted for cock fighting, worked on motorcycles, had a pig-pickin for Thanksgiving one time...

It has been nice to reconnect with her as adults. Thank you Facebook. One reason I love her is that she is a regular reader of the Beaten Hamster! But I think one of the things I like most is watching her with Autumn, who is about 10. She is so curious and eager to learn - and Elizabeth takes every opportunity to teach! She was telling us about a time that they were riding past a cotton field that was just about ready for picking. Some parents would have driven by...even if the child asked what that field of "snow" was. After all, it is hot out there...a farmer might object...there could be bugs! But Elizabeth took the time to stop, get out together and touch the cotton. She said that her shirt was made of that very material. They felt the cotton seed inside the fluffy ball and she explained about Eli Whitney inventing the cotton gin. When Autumn hears about that in school she is going to have a tangible memory to relate it to. That is pretty darn cool.

Another cousin that I got to sit down with and talk to for a few minutes today was my young cousin Megan. We haven't spent much time together either - but I'm afraid that isn't due to geography... I don't think I've made enough effort to get to know her. Tonight I was getting ready to head from the Riva Howse to home. I needed to shower and plan my Sunday School lesson. She overheard me telling Mom why I was heading out and asked if I taught Sunday School. I told her that I teach the Youth class. We spent about 10 minutes discussing the challenges of teaching an age-diverse class, the topics we were covering and how I liked it. She was genuinely interested in what I thought. Then we talked a bit about different world religions and various Christian denominations. I don't think I ever gave her credit for the intelligent deep-thinker that she is. I hope we get more chances to have more discussions. She's pretty neat.

So - I spent the first day of my three day weekend with family. The rest of the weekend will be filled with even more...biological kin and extended family. What a nice day.

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