The time arrives in our lives when we realize the torch has been passed from the elders to the next generation. The older generation in the family dies, and it's up to the cousins to stay in touch.
I remember as a kid and even young adult being so irritated with my parents when they just had to visit cousins on vacation. One time on a weekend trip to the lake, we had to veer three hours off course to attend a 70-year old cousin of my father's husband's funeral. There I was staring at Tom in the casket, a man I'd never met in real life. UGH! Another memorable moment down at South Padre was spent listening to a boring distant cousin's husband drone on and on about all the damn dams in China. Afterwards, my aunt reminded me they were no blood relation of hers since she was adopted. HA!
Time rolls on, and fortunately, attitudes change. We're no longer forced to sit round the table together, so we have to choose to stay in touch.
So yesterday, I was thrilled when my only cousin on my father's side (favorite aunt's son) called me to go to lunch. He was in town with his son for ASU freshmen orientation. I picked him up at his hotel and he led me down to Mill Avenue, the ASU shopping/restaurant zone. We ran up and down Mill in the pouring cold rain to My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, where we ate Greek food and had a blast catching up.
So here's to the cousins! I look forward to keeping the torch burning! : ) (But I probably still won't drive half a day to meet a distant relative for the first time if he's lying in a satin-lined box.)