My Dad had seven brothers and sisters, and I don't have an Aunt or and Uncle that didn't possess that same quick sense of humor. And all my cousins have it, too. And from what I can tell, my cousins' kids have it as well--not sure if it should be called a blessing or the "Creason Curse."
My Dad's family, for at least the first decade-and-a-half of my life, got together every Friday night and played euchre. And all of us cousins would wreak havoc in my Grandma's living room--usually resulting in the inevitable threat "if I have to come in here again, somebody is getting spanked." Or sometimes it would be at Uncle Jim and Aunt Myrna's house and we'd create chaos in the basement. I preferred the basement . . . my grandma and the aunts and uncles just yelled threats down the stairs when we were in the basement, but they almost never came down there and followed up. Usually they shouted down the old standby "you kids better knock it off down there."
My cousin Scott is a year younger than me, and Uncle Jim would always try and talk me into spending the night at his house after they finished playing euchre. I never would--I was probably five at the time, and I just wasn't ready to do that yet. But he finally convinced me. He said that at their house, they had ice cream for breakfast.
That did it. That changed everything. I was in. I spent the night, and the next morning, everyone gets up, and I go out and sit at the table next to Uncle Jim. Aunt Myrna asked me if I wanted some cereal. I reminded her about the ice cream. Uncle Jim laughed--a promise is a promsie. Believe it or not--we had ice cream for breakfast. All of us!
My dad came and picked me up later, and my cousin Scott was pretty excited (sugared up on ice cream no doubt). He told my dad that he loved it when Todd spent the night--they got to eat ice cream for breakfast!
I spent a lot of time this week thinking about growing up in that family, and remembering some of the nonsense I got into with my cousins (we were all ornery to say the least). The family isn't the same anymore--no longer as close as when I was growing up. But for a brief time, long enough for me and most of my cousins to grow up, the family was a very close-knit group. And it was a great way to grow up with so many uncles and aunts and cousins. Having so many cousins around was like having a dozen brothers and sisters. Very good times.
Life never stays the same, which is why it's so important to enjoy every moment--you just don't know what the next moment is going to bring. Maybe something good, maybe something not so good. All my grandparents are gone now. So are two of my uncles, and three of my first cousins. Life goes on, but it's important sometimes to pause, and reflect back. It reminds us of who we are, and where we came from. And whether we like it or not, life goes on, and we all wind up in the same place eventually--I believe Stephen King referred to it in one of his novels as "the clearing at the end of the path."
On Sunday morning, my little family all got up early as we usually do on Sundays, and went out for breakfast. Valerie ordered her breakfast, and Katie ordered hers. Should have seen the look on our waitresses' face when I ordered my breakfast.
Just for the hell of it, I had a banana split! It had been over forty years since I'd last had ice cream for breakfast.
Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014. You can contact Todd E. Creason at: firstname.lastname@example.org