27 September 2006

A Relative Adventure

I had dinner with my cousin, Jamey, the other night. I know what you’re thinking: “Whoop-dee-do. Dinner with a cousin. Exciting life that girl must lead.” But I haven’t seen her in fifteen years.

Here’s the embarrassing part: She’s lived in the Atlanta area for ten years.

Ah, you’re thinking, there must be some Southern gothic drama that kept us apart, a family feud worthy of Tennessee Williams’ pen. Nope, just simple laziness.

Jamey grew up in south Georgia, so we didn’t see much of each other when we were kids. I remember when she was born. Her parents were living on a farm, and we drove down to meet her. I was nearly seven, and I was fascinated with this adorable little baby. Jamey’s family would visit, of course, and she’d come up some summer months. I always remember her cute giggles. And her freckles.

Sister, Cousin, and Brother, in our 1967 Mustang convertible (1977)

Why did we wait so long to see each other? The excuse: We have different lifestyles. Jamey’s the mother of two beautiful girls (her oldest was born the day after my beloved niece), and I’m … well, I’m the mother of two cats. She’s spent the last ten years dashing between cheerleading practice and soccer games, while I’ve been dashing between happy hours and Saturday brunches.

This blog helped us reconnect. Before that, we’d send the occasional joke e-mail, maybe a Christmas or birthday card, but that was it. Jamey learned more about me through the blog, which led to deeper e-mail conversations. And the promise that we’d get together soon for dinner.

As the eldest cousin, I should have known better than to lose touch. And my social laziness resulted in a huge, painful gap in my younger cousin’s life. Jamey — and, God, it hurts to write this — is *gasp* not very familiar with R.E.M. That poor, lost child; what a sad, empty life she must have led. So I stepped up to my responsibilities and gave her a copy of And I Feel Fine: The Best of the IRS Years, 1982–1987. It’s never too late to fall in love.

So, how was dinner? Great fun. We sat down and chatted as if we’d seen each other just last week. We do, of course, share DNA and can chat up a chair, so that’s not surprising. Jamey still has great giggles and fabulous freckles. I’m having a ball getting to know her all over again. And we swore we’d meet up again before 2015.

P.S. The blog is also turning her mama into a bit of an R.E.M. fan. Life is beautiful when you know why you were put here on this earth.

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At 9/27/2006 07:34:00 AM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

It's great to have cousins. I think of some of mine, especially the ones I don't know very well due to lack of regular contact, like replacement siblings - some of the DNA, none of the drama!

At 9/27/2006 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

Well, my family life got to be too much like "Little Foxes" the early years were great, but the latter, too strange for me to want to be a part of. I am so glad that you are experiencing positive love flow!!!

At 9/27/2006 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

Coffee is spreading the gospel of Michael Stipe! I met him at the Kentucky Derby when I was 14.

At 9/27/2006 03:29:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

the line about you having not influenced her to love r.e.m. made me laugh out loud.

and then when you mentioned her mother turning into an r.e.m. fan i had to smile.

your mission - should you choose to except it...

At 9/27/2006 05:09:00 PM, Blogger Benny said...

...And my mother would be dancing in her seat with the photo of THAT car! Yowza. :-)

At 9/27/2006 05:58:00 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Just spreading the good word of R.E.M everywhere aren't you ? I think we'll all love them dearly after reading your blog for a couple of months

It's nice that you're getting closer to once distant relatives. Blood's thicker than water as they say.

At 9/27/2006 06:16:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

COASTER PUNCHMAN: I think we have the tagline for your memoir.

OLD LADY: Maybe we've been able to preserve the friendship since we did our own things in our twenties and thirties.

ANOMIE-ATLANTA: That's why the Lord put me on this earth. Did Michael wear a nice spring hat to the Kentucky Derby?

BRAT: It's an important mission, so don't knock it. You don't want a legion of Maroon 5 fans taking over, do you?

BENNY: It was a fabulous car ... but it didn't have air conditioning ... which is a bitch in Georgia.

BEN: Either love them or become sick to death of them. I must balance my preaching, Brother Ben.

At 9/27/2006 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

who is this rem you always are yammering about?

At 9/27/2006 07:26:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

haha! i'd rather a legion of maroon 5 than any more simpson sisters.

but yes - i do understand why your mission is so important.

At 9/27/2006 07:49:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

M: LOL!!!!!!!!!

BRAT: Ewwww, you wrote "Simpson sisters" on my blgo. Bad Brat!

At 9/28/2006 05:52:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Lovely post Beth. I second your CP tagline idea, all he has to do now is write it.

At 10/02/2006 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Tumuli said...

What a cool post. And bonus points on educating them on Stipe & Co. :)

At 10/02/2006 05:40:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: Good excuse to pester and nag CP. Maybe we'll make it on the dedication page.

TUMULI: Thank you! I am here on this earth to spread the R.E.M. gospel, and I must do what I can.


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