Family. A strong word. It can mean everything and it can mean nothing. I grew up as an Army brat, and never really had the opportunity to know my relatives. Living this traveling life now, I’ve met more extended family than I have in my entire life, and I’m loving it. We’re impermanent everywhere we go, and yet, conversely, because I’m meeting relatives, sometimes for the first time, I’m feeling more grounded. Go figure.
I have some New England cousins, living right here in Connecticut, where we’re visiting our son, Fireman Nick. And this is cool for him too. He’s never really met any of MY relatives or family, so he’s getting more of a sense of my life and my background. Saturday evening we drove a short distance over to Cromwell to meet up with my cousin Sam and his wife Jean, and their son Jon, and his wife, Ahnaf.
Sam is the son of my Uncle Harvey and Aunt Shirley, on my dad’s side. As an adult, I was able to visit my Aunt Shirley in Maine, and a couple of times I took my kids with me. So they have memories of their aunt also. Unfortunately, they were never able to meet my Uncle Harvey, who was a great story teller. His son, Sam, has that same talent, and will, I suspect, become even more of a storyteller as he grows into age. Jean is Sam’s memory, as he calls her, and a font of our family information. She showed me a couple of massive family bibles from my dad’s maternal side, and explained some family history to me. And me-well, because I’m Happily Homeless and carry what’s important to me in the “closet” of our car- I was able to dig out of that closet, the Miller family album (ivory cover, gilt edged), with numerous unidentified Millers who lived in Scotland during the late 1800’s. And a leather covered, gilt edged book of the poems of Robert Burns, dating from the same time period. We talked old family history, and we talked more recent family history, what our upbringings were, the difficulties, the funny parts, the connections. I was able to talk extensively with Ahnaf, who is Muslim, about womens’ issues in the MidEast and the Asian countries, which was thrilling for me! Jean made a delicious chicken dinner with twice-baked potatoes-oh, it was good!! We talked, and talked, and took pictures, and ate, and shared family history, and Fireman Nick was able to see MY family, and Handsome Husband took to them like a duck to water (no worries there-he’s so friendly and easy going.)