A while back, when Grandmother on my mom's side was turning 85, we had a small family get together at her house in Shreveport, LA. It was a great time. Many of the people in my family I hadn't seen in let's say 10 years. Many of my cousins will tell you all about how cute and adorable I was as a child. Great. What happened in those 10 years was awesome. You see, I'm the 2nd youngest in the family rank of cousins. #6 in your program, but #1 in your heart. First is J IV or James the Fourth. Then comes the "Three from '73." That's Amy, Anne, and David. Then comes Tim, Me and last but not least Adele.
I couldn't tell you the last time I saw any of my cousins. I had barely seen much of my brother since he went to college and I left for Missouri. When I went to college, I went a little crazy with the rebellious looks since I was from a military family. Always clean cut and such. Not any more. I love this story from when I landed.
First off, my mother, brother, grandmother, and Aunt Catherine came to pick me up from the airport. As I walked down the terminal, I noticed my family. They did not notice me, at all. Then I saw my brother start to laugh and snicker. At that point, the eyes on the rest of the group started to grow and then it was all smiles and love for my arrival. You see, I hadn't cut my hair since the Superbowl that year, when many of my fraternity brothers had been giving me a hard time. I had also shaved it bald as a pledge. These were two crazy extremes that I had never ventured with before. It was awesome.
When I got to the house, we said our hellos and then I had to run upstairs for a little bit to relax from the travel. Well, all of the sudden the door rings and here comes my father and sister all the way from Mississippi (they had been in Alexandria, La visiting my other Grandmother) to stop by and say hello and with my Grandmother a happy birthday. (My parents have been divorced since I was like 6 months old). It was a sudden surprise, but a great one. My dad hadn't seen me, David, or Sarah together at one time in a long, long time. Or when all of us were young adults. You should have seen his face when I appeared. Oh wait you can:
I'm sure the first thing my dad was thinking was, "Is this my son? What the hell happened to him?" Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I'm the ginger in the family. While there have been others that have been added, I'm the original. Look at the surprise on his face. It's an awesome picture. We then got one of the three Grimes kids with our Dad. (The picture got wet a long time ago, but there we all are.)
So back to the story of the great family photo. At one point the only people in the house were my Aunt Catherine and Uncle Roy, Grandmother, my Mom and Dad, and the three siblings....and then it all broke loose. I was using the phone in the corner calling my roommates back in Missouri to let them know that I made it okay. My cousin Amy then walked by me and said hello and looked away. I replied with a "Hi Amy." She looked at me funny for a couple of seconds and then gave that gasped, hand over mouth, eyes wide expression that I was somewhat used to. I thought it was funny. She still remembers this kid.
(I'm so getting killed for putting this picture up. That's Amy behind me.)
Instead of this lovely young man, I showed up looking like the previous picture. After she realized who I was, we all laughed. Then, the doorbell rang and I went to answer it. I opened the door and the lady and husband at the door looked at me surprised and then apologized for they thought they had the wrong door. I looked at them and said "Aunt Elizabeth, you're at the right house." That's her above in the picture as well. They gave me the same look as Amy and laughed and came inside. Everyone else in the family, the story goes along the same way. But those three always stick out to me the most.
That weekend was so much fun. I got to reconnect to my cousins in a manner that I never knew before. We told stories and laughed. We watched the older ones hang out with their kids. We all drank and drank the next day. We all told lies and laughed. My favorite lie is the story of how I ran my cousin Tim over with the riding lawn mower. They say it's true, but I don't remember it happening. (Love you Tim.)
We all got together on the last day to take family pictures. All the parents. And then the grandchildren together. Then the individual families together. It was a so much fun. In the process, this awesome picture was taken. You see, I'm kind of a clown. Either that or I have impeccable timing. We were all lined up in a row from youngest to oldest and we all smiled. Then we had to take another one. This one I timed perfectly. Here it is:
(Adele, Me, Tim, David, Anne, Amy, and J IV)
This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. It reminds me of part of my family that I miss. We got together years ago and it was fun. Tim even made this picture his profile picture on facebook. That's a great honor and I'll take it. I told you before, I live out there on the edge and these are the things that I like to do. I can't wait for the next reunion. I can't wait for something random to happen again.