My dad taught me early in life to count my blessings. So, on this day of Thanksgiving, I think it is quite appropriate to remember one of the boys in his life that he considered one of his “sons” and many of the others who were dear to his heart.
Today is my cousin Donnie Evans’ birthday-November 24, 1958. I still remember the day that his mom and dad brought him home from the hospital. My memory believes it was Thanksgiving Day, but sometimes, my memories have a way of evolving into a bit better story, so I may be off a day or two. He was such a precious little treasure.
He would be fifty-eight today. But you see, time stopped for Donnie on October 27, 2015. Tim and I travelled to Missouri and I will forever be thankful that he suggested it. I reconnected with some people that I had not seen for too long. My dad and Donnie too was there when we visited Mackie the concrete goose and picked pecans while birds and squirrels watched us plunder their winter food supply.
Louie, true to form, filled the pocket of my vest with pecans and told me to plant them in Cleveland just at the depth of squirrel would. I shared them with friends who are hikers and bird watchers asking them to plant them on their walks. I keep some for myself and planted them in some favorite spots. There is one nestled in my plaster fox curled up to my left as I write this post.
Strange how with family the years just melt away when you are together, and it always seems just like yesterday when last you saw them. That trip to say “Godspeed” to my cousin will remain in my heart forever. His funeral gave me the opportunity to spend time with my cousins who for years when I was young I saw them at least once a week, but hadn’t seen them in too many years.
Tim told me on the way home as we travelled on the Santa Fe trail that he had learned more about why I am who I am than he ever thought he would. He told me now I understand your love of nature and the woods a bit better because so do your cousins. It is in your blood. Yep!
Louie and Chuck were more like big brothers to me than cousins. My aunt lived next door and they would pop into Mom’s kitchen almost every day to see what Aunt Virginia was cooking. Jim and Jane Ellen did not make the trip but they were with us in spirit and their names were mentioned often during the stories shared.
Connecting to Julia and Larry as adults was a moment that seemed so surreal. Again, I had spent many days when I was young with them because they would stay the weekend with their uncle Harry and Aunt Virginia, my parents. Now, here they were with kids of their own grown, attending college, starting families, it was enough to boggle my mind.
And then there was Courtney chronicling events with her camera. Why do I think that someday somehow, we will all end up as characters in a book? Julia is so proud of her child, and so she should be, the girl is a treasure.
And Julia, is my Aunt Dadie personified one more time. She couldn’t look more like her if she tried. She is a strong, independent woman who means what she says and says what she means. Giving her mother Annie a hug was one of the best moments of the trip.
Alma is such a sweetheart and I am so glad my cousin has her in his life. She is a free spirit and enjoys life so much. Leesa fits in with “the boys” and her pink camouflage kind of says it all.
On this day, when we count our blessings I am so glad for my family. My parents made sure that both sides of my family became “our family” and to this day, they all remain so important to me.