July 7, 2010
First Cousins Once Removed
I went out to the fairgrounds ten days or so ago to meet up with some cousins whom I haven't seen in eons. Pictured are Cousin Carolyn, me, Cousin John (whom we still refer to as Cousin Jackie when talking to my mom, and John's wife Paulette.
Carolyn and John's father was John Brown, who married Oma. He had a sister named Gladys, who married Steve Havanas. He had another sister named Lily, who married Charles Harkness; and they beget my mother -- which makes Mother a first cousin to Carolyn and John (who are around my age) and makes them my first cousins once removed. (Their children and I are second cousins.) Genealogy lesson complete.
The last time I saw Carolyn was at my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary, in 1993.
The last time I saw John was 1955-ish, when he told me if I touched a birds' nest the mama bird would find me and peck my eyes out. For all these years, I couldn't remember which big boy had told me, but on the way to the fairgrounds it was Jackie. He was 9 at the time and couldn't have guessed that 40-some years later I'd put up a hummingbird feeder, and, when the first hummingbird came to feed and hovered inches from my face, I sat in something just short of terror wondering if it were going to peck my eyes out.
John and Paulette, who are from Houston, have been square-dancing for years. Carolyn and her husband Steve, who live near Detroit, started a few years ago. They were in town for the 59th National Square Dance Convention.
The 60th Convention will be in Detroit, and within five minutes of arriving back home, I'd convinced Michael that he (who square-danced a little in high school) and I (who square-danced a little in high school) should take lessons and join the cousins at the convention next year.
Outside their natural habitat, people in square dancing clothes may not appear chic, but put 6,000+ together in one place, and you begin to see the beauty. Some costumes are reminiscent of quilts, with carefully pieced designs -- in bold, bright, contrasting colors. And, as I mentioned earlier, there are those colored petticoats and glittery shoes.