Other than my parents and my sister, cousins were probably my first and closest friends. I grew up close to many of them. Some that lived far away I did not know as well. The three above hold a very special place in my heart.
The oldest, Karl, actually lived with me and my parents for one school year. He was…and still is kind, polite, and fun to be around. He served our country in the Viet Nam war and was wounded there. He later made the military his career. I am very proud of him. He has always been someone I admired and looked up to.
Jerry, in the middle, was such fun. He always had a smile on his face. He could be a little mischievous at times, but he was the sweetest, person you could ever know. Like his Dad, he was a cowboy at heart. He died in a tragic motorcycle accident when I was a senior in high school. I think he was in the eighth grade. His death tore me up. I still can’t hear his name without those feelings of grief coming back, and those questions of “why Jerry”, haunting me. I always wonder what he would have been like when he grew up, and what he would have done in his life. But I think I know. He would have been a cowboy. And he would have been the kind of friend and neighbor who was the first to reach out and help in time of trouble or need. I don’t believe time could have changed those qualities in him. I miss him.
Marilyn, his sister, and I, have always been very close. She is a lot like Jerry. She always has a smile and warm heart. Marilyn and Jerry were always best buddies. I remember at his funeral, how I kinda fell apart. She showed so much strength and courage, and carried herself with grace and dignity. Marilyn is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. She is hard-working and fun too. I wish we still lived close enough that we could visit and share holidays like we used to.
Time and distance has physically separated my cousins and me. ( I have many, these are just three. ) But time can not erase memories. It can not take away childhood games, and shenanigans. It can not take away family times spent fishing, riding, and boating. Time and distance can’t erase memories of family picnics and holidays filled with good times and good food. It can not erase the warmth, the laughter, or the feelings of love I have for them all.
I think we need another family reunion!!