A Cousin Night Out
My dad has 7 siblings. From those 7 siblings came 41 cousins, most of them being raised in the same town (at least most of the time). I grew up across the street from one family, another of my uncles' kids lived up the street for awhile, and an aunt and her family in the circle across the street the other way. My grandma lived kitty-corner to my house, so all those that didn't live less than a mile away came to visit her (and therefore us) all the time. We were a happy group. Getting together for Thanksgiving was out of the question--there were way too many of us. But the 4th of July and Christmas Eve were Clark holidays. I looked forward to those gatherings as much as Christmas day itself.
We've all grown up now. Our youngest cousin is in college (as are the first two second cousins!). Our Christmas eve parties slowly died after each family got too big and started their own traditions. Part of our 4th of July celebration still exists, but with as many kids as there are running around, conversation between adults is slim and often interrupted.
So in an effort to get together like old days, my cousin Natalie put on a fantastic dinner, and we all sat around and laughed and ate well. We were reminded of the time Lisa said from the pulpit that she wouldn't do a "half-assed job" on her mission to Japan; the time Christopher wasn't there to play the piano for the Christmas Carols, leaving me to plunk it out for an impatient aunt Chriss who was leading the singing; or when Elvin the Elf brought Stephanie paper dolls for too many years in a row and left her crying.
We still were missing cousin representatives from 4 of 8 families, so we've still got more recruiting to do. But after a night like that, high in the mountains eating lasagna and raspberry-peach cobbler and laughing to tears, I'd swear heaven has a big Cousin Room filled with food that Natalie cooked and people that entertain you all the time. Because eternity would be really long without cousins.