We love our crazy folks down South. Oh, we may not want them right up in the house with us, not that it doesn’t happen from time to time, but certainly we need them to brighten up our holidays and remind us of how dull life would be without them.
My perennially pregnant Cousin Carol waddled into the family reunion this year with her nine kids and current live-in. He’d look like Willie Nelson if she cleaned him up a little. Excepting her penchant for living in sin, Cousin Carol is fanatically religious, devoting herself to the food kitchens, fellowship nights serving evening meals, and community closets of all the local churches, though not their morning services. “It’s hard to git nine young’uns dressed that early.” Some nosey relative asked her how many more kids she was going to have and she answered, “As many as God gives me.” I think the boyfriends had more to do giving her those babies than God did! You can bet your sweet fanny she won’t have any more if she had to pay for them. At the conclusion of the reunion, she loaded up as much food as she could load in her decrepit station wagon, reasoning if she didn’t, y R would go to waste.”
For those of you who haven’t been to a family gathering in the South, this is every cook’s turn to shine. They bring their most celestial dishes. If Aunt Sue chases you down with her fresh coconut cake, you’re going to try it or else! Don’t bother pleading allergies. Aunt Bonnie makes the best fried chicken. You have to have some of Uncle Joe’s barbecue, but watch out for Cousin Mattie Mae’s Three-Bean-Salad with the wigglies. You don’t have to take any of that. She has Alzheimer’s and won’t know the difference. It may very well be the same batch she brought last year.
Uncle Chester couldn’t make it this year. He got sent back up for counterfeiting, but he did set the boys up in bootlegging before he got caught. They’re doing real good. Aunt Jennie was really bragging on them. Her girl Joyce is teaching at the high school and just married the Baptist preacher. Aunt Jennie is so proud all her kids are making a good living and doing well.
I never get tired of bragging about my tightwad Cousin Kat who set up her tombstone in her bedroom because she “didn’t want to spend all that money and then not get any enjoyment out of it.” There was my cousin Evil Larry, who ran around with his pants unzipped so he “all the better to pee on us” when he could catch us. I never did learn to like him, though. I adored my cousin Sue, but she was a compulsive liar from the time she could talk; delightful, non-malicious creations that kept me guessing. She was great fun, but would have climbed on top of the house to tell a tale when she could have stood on the ground and told the truth.
I don’t think I could pick a favorite. I love them all, even the ones I hid from. They gave me wonderful stories, ensuring that my rich, life never has a boring moment. All I have to do is think back and recall.
(Oh and the Cat’s name was Old Greenie She was 26 years old and had just given birth to her last litter of kittens. Not long after this picture was made Old Greenie ate the kittens, starting at the feet. My Grandpa was horrified and knocked her in the head. See, my family even had crazy animals.)