Sunday, July 13, 2014

Seven Kids & Me

As a youngster with a married sister living out of state, late summer trips to Kansas were an annual affair. The 500 or so mile trip was tedious for me, but my Barbie dolls entertained me in the back seat of our Oldsmobile.

Don’t know how a kid stands a trip today with seat belt requirements, for I sat on the floor with Ken, Barbie, Tuesday Taylor (the doll whose hair could change color), and their entourage spread out on the back seat. I guess that’s why 21st century children get a personal DVD player.

I doubt Dad would ever purchased that for me though because I had to beg him when I was in high school to buy a VCR from the Sears catalog (back when those things cost over $500) so I could tape the NBA finals during the Lakers’ domination of league. But when it was all over, he returned it. I was so mad, but not too mad because I think he did that for me more than once. 

Anyway, for one Kansas trip, Mom and Dad decided to go see my cousin Wilmer and his wife Elaine and family who had moved to Meade, Kansas, where they lived in the country with all kinds of farm animals.

I remember it well because the next morning after I’d eaten some cereal, Cousin Jetta said, “You just drank goat’s milk.” I couldn’t believe it—don’t remember if I finished it, but Mom probably made me.

When we had arrived the night before, we learned that Elaine's sister, Georgiane's family, was also visiting.

Mom asked Elaine why she did not tell us they already had company. Elaine’s response was, “But then you wouldn’t have come!”

So there we all stayed. Six adults, my four Kleinsasser cousins and their three cousins, and me. Yes, technically, second cousins, but to me, cousins just the same.

I loved visiting my sister Brenda and then husband John in Kansas, but this was the best Kansas trip ever for a little girl who soaked up the chance at being around people her own age.

See, I lived in the country far from my school or church friends, so it seemed, but it was really back in the day when parents didn’t drop everything to go drive their kids around so they could have a social life.

Elaine cooked up a storm, no doubt, for a crew that size, and where I slept was probably a floor—I don’t remember.

Wilmer chauffeured us around on a buggy pulled by an old Shetland pony or some other beasts they called Thunder and Lightning—donkeys or something or other.

I just remember it was fun and I needed a bath.

I hope every child grows up to have a vacation memory like this—one in which love of family and hospitality abound.

What are some vacation memories of your younger days?
Seven Kids & Me. I am in back, second from left.             
Author's Note: This was part two of a tribute to my cousin Wilmer and his wife Elaine who will be married for 50 years this November. Part one was last week in the post entitled, Procrastination Pile Removed.

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