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Bandera Courier
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2015-01-08

'Cuz Fest'

Mikie Baker

When someone starts talking about their yearly family reunion and meeting up with over a 100 people all with the same last name, I get all atwitter. Since I'm an only child, my family reunions consisted of Dad, Mom and me sitting around the kitchen table eating hot dogs and chips. Heck, there wasn't even one homemade pie in sight.
So I've always fantasized about the big family reunion. To that end, a few years back, I hooked up with My Crazy Cuz and we started getting together. She's an only child too, so it's not so much a reunion, but rather a "Who's-the-Biggest-Spoiled-Brat" party. Amazingly, we always end up in a tie.
A couple of months ago, MCC called to tell me that she had found our two other long-lost cousins. Though my father was one of six children, only three of the six managed to have kids, so as cousins go, we are a mighty band of four. At least I can see a couple of homemade pies in my future.
So we connected through Facebook which, whether the founders know it or not, was designed to find long lost relatives, brag about your grandkids and show where you just had dinner via GPS. Who'd have ever thought we'd need such a service.
We planned to meet in a Big City that was a central spot since we live all over the state. My Crazy Cuz is married to Two Star Cuzband - try and keep up! - and their son is Another Army Officer. He was getting promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at the Alamo and we figured that was as good an excuse as any to celebrate and then go drink.
When I headed to the Big City for this event, I pondered cousins. Unless everyone was in the same town, you really don't know these people. Sure, you've seen them a couple of times in your life and then you were forced to act and dress right because your parents were trying to impress each other with "perfect" children. These events were always a burden to me as it's really hard for me to act right for more than an hour at a time.
But as you age and you are left with the sobering fact that all the parents are long gone, you look around and find cousins to somehow validate the fact that you were lucky because you were so loved. The commonality of family is something that cements us to this world and the legacy we leave behind.
We met for lunch at a location recommended to us by Another Army Officer's wife. The location was a restaurant-bar-washateria-car wash which was just about as strange as our combined sense of Baker humor. I was particularly excited as I'd brought a load of dirty clothes with me and the car really needed a once over. They also served organic wine.
I am proud to say that the sense of humor that makes you enjoy this column permeates my entire family and we spent a lovely day of swapping family stories and cracking each other up. Finally I have found other people that laugh at my jokes.
So I'd like to introduce you to two new characters you'll be hearing from again and again in this column - Beautiful Matriarch Cuz - she's the eldest - and Damn He's Cute - he's just darling.
I look forward to our upcoming shenanigans and hope that you also have cousins that always make you laugh and appreciate your heritage. Search them out - you'll be happy you did.