Cousins, Dear Cousins
I took Hazel and Parley up to Rock Canyon Park with Grandma Lisa, Katie, and Atticus today. They played happily on the playground for a long while, only distracted by the other park children's fruit snacks and Fresca. Upon wandering a bit off from the park, Hazel found a piece of heaven--bushes and trees that had openings just big enough for her and Atticus to walk through. Soon, we couldn't see them, but we could hear them ("I got a weaf for ya, Atticus!", "Atti bonk head!").
As I watched them, I couldn't help but remember my own bushes fort made with my cousins on the side of the Van Buren's house. We spent hours hollowing the bushes to create rooms for ourselves. In my remembering, I longed to be there again, with a pack of saltines, Jesse, Nick, Ryan, Katie, Steph and Mike.
I have 41 cousins on my Clark side, and 6 cousins on my Brimley side. While age and/or differences separate me from some of the 47, most I claim as very best friends. My time spent with these cousins, while growing up and still today, I cherish more than words have a way of telling well.
I grew up across the street from my Steve Clark cousins. They are like another set of brothers and sisters. I spent most of my time there with Jesse. I imagine that my relationship with Jesse is what it would be like to have a twin brother. We shocked fellow classmates by holding hands in the lunch line or if we really wanted to sock it to them, he'd kiss me
on the lips. Jesse advised me and arranged for my relationships, and would occasionally petition my help for his (not that he needed it). It meant the world to me to impress Jesse, and if truth be told, it still does.
The Van Burens moved into the circle across from my family when I was in 4th grade. The VB's backyard opened to a wide field where we spent hours swinging on the world's greatest swing, making apricot fruit leather, traveling to Courtney's dear friend Tara's house, dodging water from the cement frog water spout, making movies produced by the great Professor Chris Clark, and letting deer free from traps that were meant to take them back to their mountain home.
We spent Sundays at Grandma and Grandpa Brimley's house with Lindsey and Russ. We put on terribly boring plays which we insisted our parents and grandparents watch. We pouted when they giggled at the wrong parts or chatted with each other instead of watching. Lindsey and I sent Russ and Katie upstairs to the bedroom to talk through the vents with us and bring us more Lorna Doones. When our parents called for us to go home, we'd hide in each other's cars in hopes that we might get to have a sleepover at the other's house.
Casey moved down from big-hairville, Ogden in 8th grade. We were the primary babysitters for our parents during Cougar football games and spent many a Saturday at the Oakridge playground. We were lost without each other when Casey moved to Timpview territory, and after a sad first freshman semester as rivals, I got her back as a Bulldog. Between tanning on her tramp and sending in modeling photos of ourselves to 17 magazine (yikes!), we were a busy pair.
As I watched Hazel, Atticus and Parley today, I caught a glimpse of what I hope their lives will be like together: bush forts, swings, sprinklers, trampolines, boring plays, sleepovers, baseball with big red bats, sledding accidents, Secret Stores, plastic pools, and many many packs of saltines and Lorna Doones.