A few weekends ago I attended a gathering of sorts with some of my cousins.
We met in Steinhatchee, which is a point about halfway for most of us to travel.
Since it was an impromptu event and not our normal formal family reunion, we did not hold our usual series of activities.
I missed them too; it was always fun to see who brought the most interesting yard sale buys.
One year my cousin Nancy won the contest with her lamp made from a car water pump. I’m sure it has a special place in her rustic den, even today.
My cousin Don, who is the artist of the cousins, did not bring a painted coconut this year. It was always a hit, but he said since he had turned 80 he just did not have the time to work on another coconut.
Don is also the philosopher of the family.
He told us that he had learned one thing about life at his recent birthday.
The revelation, he said, was that he no longer had to worry about dying young.
This was a big relief, he said.
My cousin Buddy is the jokester of the cousins. He is always up to something.
He grew up in rural Bay County during some of the hardest times in North Florida history.
I remember well growing up and hearing his stories about living off the land.
He still talks about his fondest memories of those days and especially about the day he saw only two people chasing a rabbit.
Things started to get a little better after that, he still will say, with the sparkle of a tear in his eye.
My cousin Billy (his real name is Sam) was there. I can’t say too much about him, especially since he is still in the witness protection program.
No cousin-gathering would be complete without my brother Eddie (no longer in the witness protection plan) who, by the way, is not my cousin.
Eddie has always been a painter and for years would bring a board from one of his projects for us to view.
He is now into cell phone video and entertained us all with a 30 - minute video of his two dogs barking.
On a more serious note, I do have one very intelligent cousin, Juliana, Sam’s (Billy’s) wife.
She is an excellent writer and has written an epic novel about her relatives’ plight during World War 1 in the Ukrainian.
She, as I said, married into our family and is not from ‘round here.’ Instead, she was raised in New York City by the folks the book is written about.
We ate at Roy’s, if you are interested in a place to eat in Steinhatchee. I would recommend that you not mention you read about them here ... just in case they remember us.