I don’t get to visit siblings – they’re non-existent. I get the next-best thing or is it better? I get to visit cousins. And as mentioned in a previous post I have lots of cousins. Earlier this month I finally took my annual summer holidays and stayed with some of my cousins in southwestern Ontario. And many of those I didn’t stay with joined me for a dinner at a restaurant in Stratford. I counted 10 cousins around the table – eight from my generation and two from the next generation down – sort of a mini reunion. We had one of those big family reunions in the summer of 2003 – a week after the big blackout in southern Ontario and Ohio. You know where you haul out the old photos and old stories – the former tell no lies but the latter often have varying versions but if you put it all together you get some great family history. Since then all the uncles have died and if we did another biggie reunion, I’d be part of the older generation. Scary thought.
But I couldn’t help thinking about family traits and values that I saw – what is different between us and what is the same. Some kept their religious upbringing but do religion very well. What I mean here is they manage to make it part of their lives (and thrive from it) without shoving it on everyone else -not an easy task. Some cousins are more old-fashioned; some more worldly, some talkative, some quiet. But one trait comes across in all of them, in my generation, anyway. They are considerate of others and made me feel at home when I stayed with them or even just visited for a few hours. Yet, they politely made their plans known – if they had errands, etc. to do or wanted to just stay in, they let me know. And I didn’t feel I was a burden because I was visiting. Rather I found it easy to go along with their wishes. The bottom line is it was done in a friendly non-demanding way. If you think of anytime you may have visited a relative or friend and they treated you as if you were in their way for whatever they had to do or wanted to do, then think the opposite – this latter is what I experienced.
Not that my cousins are perfect. Some of them are die-hard hockey and baseball fans and I’m not. But isn’t that what makes us all tick – our differences? And many of my cousins are mystery novel fans – so am I.