Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

My cousins

My cousin Dan was my father's sister's oldest son. She and her two sons lived in the small Arkansas town where my parents went to high school. When I was a junior in high school myself, we moved to that town. I graduated from high school there. That town is kind of home-and-yet-not-home to me, in the way two-years-of-high-school can be for a person.

Dan was thirteen years my senior. My late mother liked Dan. He shared some of her interests--he played in the band, he trained to become a teacher, just as she had, and he had an eye for antiques. Dan and his own mother were very close. During her life, I think they spoke every day.

Dan always seemed to me to know himself. He had a kind of self-assurance which, with hindsight, must have masked some self-doubt. But I never saw that. He was one of those people who understood his interests and his frailties, or at least it now seems to me. I liked him, but I do not claim to have known him well.

I remember one year when Dan was perhaps college-age. He fell ill--I am not sure what malady he faced. He came to live in our guest room for some weeks, so that my father, a country doctor, could keep an eye on him. I believe that we kids were told to stay away, a bit. My brother and my sister, only 1 and 5 years younger than I am, have no recall of this time.  But my recall is accurate, I believe.

Dan finished college and moved to Missouri, because a school district in Missouri paid $ 1,000 per year more than Arkansas schools paid. He taught math and science, and his students reported to my cousin John that he inspired them and teased them in a way they liked. They said they liked being teased by him because he listened to them and based his satire on his knowledge of them.

Dan played the organ in church on Sunday. Late-ish in life, he converted Catholicism. He learned he had a brain cancer in recent weeks. He passed away after some chemo-therapy. I got a call three Saturdays ago about his illness.

Sunday I drove to my brother's house. He drove us up to Arkansas. We arrived at my parents' old home, now my sister's former home newly sold to a third party.  Almost all our living cousins on my late father's side of the family were there. It was good to see them. My sister had picked up grocery store ham, potatoes, BBQ beans and a roll. I sat at a folding "children's table'. My cousins and I had an interesting time together. Most of them are older than I am, I did not experience some events that they did.

My cousin John conducted a graveside service. He did a great job.

I wish I had known my cousin Dan better. I am glad to see so many of my other cousins.

Monday I walked in Shawnee Park and One Eleven Ranch Park.
Tuesday we ate sockeye salmone. Wednesday we ate eye of round,

I walked in a muddy patch today. I hate doing that except when I mean to do that.

from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice

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