We piled in the car and headed down the road for our first family vacation, to see family. “How are they related again?” We were headed to spend a week with Dad's cousins in Virginia. We hadn't seen them in years, so I had a few vague memories, but couldn't really remember much about them. I knew they were all involved in ministry of some sort and we always got Christmas cards from them.
“OK, Grace was Grandma's cousin and Earl is Grandpa's cousin. They were introduced by Mom and Dad. So their kids, Carol, Linda and Ed are double cousins.”
“I think I got it.” I curled up and remembered our last visit with them, almost ten years earlier. They were the first people I ever knew who had air conditioning in their home. That was pretty cool, literally. I drifted off to sleep and before I knew it, we were there.
We unfolded ourselves out of the car and walked up to the house. Once inside, it was blur of hugs and “Oh, my, how the girls have grown.”
While we were sitting around talking, Linda's husband, Keith came in with his guitar. “Hey, do y'all want to see my Elvis impersonation?”
“Sure,” my sister and I both said.
Keith proceeded to lay down on the floor, with the guitar clutched over his chest, and eyes closed. We all laughed so hard we couldn't breath. I had tears streaming down my face.
Grace and Carol were busy in the kitchen with Mom getting some food ready. During dinner, Linda said that they had their last night of Vacation Bible School that night for a nearby church and asked if we wanted to help. Linda, her husband and Carol did a puppet ministry. They introduced us to Maggie the Monkey and Burferd the Horse. Carol would stand out front of the curtain working Maggie, while Linda did Maggie's voice and her husband Keith usually performed Burferd, (picture Mortimer Snerd in horse form and you got it), but he couldn't be there this time, so Linda did double duty also working Burferd.
Later that evening, I found myself behind the curtain and improvising with them using Dexter the Lion. The lesson was about Daniel and the lions den. Maggie was teaching the lesson with Carol, when suddenly Dexter (pronounced Dekth-ter, as he had a lisp) popped up from behind the curtain. “Hey! Thothe are my relativeths your talking about!”
As the lesson went on, Carol and Maggie were telling the kids how they shouldn't do something just because someone else tells them to. Meanwhile, Burferd was trying to get Dexter to throw things at Maggie and Carol. Dexter said no to everything, including when Burferd throw a shoe (mine) over the curtain at them. Maggie giggled a bit when that happened.
However, when Burferd brought out the paper airplanes, poor Dexter was tempted too much. He just loved “hopter-copterths* and air-e-o-planes.” So, we proceeded to throw several paper airplanes at Carol and Maggie until Carol went into “mama mode” and scolded Dexter and Burferd. Dexter and Burferd apologized, and the kids went to snack time.
“That was SO much fun.” I helped gather up our projectiles.
The rest of the week went by way too fast. We did site seeing, went wading in the creek. Had Dr. Mario marathons. Grace and Earl became adopted grandparents to us, as they had no grandchildren of their own. We had a blessed time of fellowship with family, not only by blood, but by Blood.
* Authors note - I used to call helicopters hopter-copters when I was a child.
In loving memory of Earl and Carol who have both gone Home.
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