Thereís a plethora of cousins in my family that we rarely get to see. Weíre scattered all over the country, there for a while, it was all over the world. My sisterís family had been missionaries in far western Russia, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Alaska. Of course, they arenít much closer now, in Anchorage. One of my cousins has been as far as Papua New Guinea, just for a vacation.
Most of us are excited if we get to travel to the next city for a vacation. Iíve done some traveling, Iíve been as far north as Algonquin Park, in Quebec, as far east as the Bahamas, as far west as Wichita Falls, and as far south as Houston. Right now I live in Central Texas, and my closest family member is my brother, in Little Rock. For various reasons, we havenít done much traveling in the last few years, so when I get a chance to, itís real treat.
While planning our annual a trip to Little Rock in March, I got the bright idea of asking if I could take two of our granddaughters with us.
My brother is younger than me, and our son had waited a few years to have kids, so my granddaughters and my brotherís kids are close in age. Theyíve never had the chance to meet, so we were looking forward to this time.
My oldest granddaughter, Tally, who is ten, wants to be a veterinarian, and is taking training classes through the 4-H, and she gets to work in a veterinarianís office. My niece, Chris, is in her first year of veterinarianís school, having already completed four years of college, so they had a lot in common from the moment they met.
Tally spent most of the week following her bigger cousin around, helping with the farm chores, gathering eggs, feeding horses, and bottle-feeding two newborn goats. She was also wearing out Chrisís ears with thousands of questions about the animals.
Chris seemed to enjoy getting to play the role of teacher and big sister to her newfound cousin. She was even able to laugh when Tally declared that they were both in the same grade! Tally hadnít quite understood that while it was Chrisís first year of vet school, it was her fifth year of college, and that there was a big difference between that and being in the first year of 4-H vet training.
Celine, who is eight, spent most of her week in the goat pen, cuddling those newborn kids. She was busily trying to figure out a way to sneak one of them into the car to take it home with us.
When the girls werenít tending to the animals, they were ďmuddinĒ with their other cousin, Aaron, who has a four-wheeler, and they have a stock pond. What more can I say? We have some great pictures of the fantails they created when they drove that four-wheeler through the shallow end of the pond. The water was still ice cold, but we had the hot tub ready for them to climb into after getting soaked. At one point we got a bit of a scare, when the four-wheeler, Aaron and Celine rolled over in the water. Celine came up yelling, ďLetís do it again!Ē
We grabbed her up, stripped off the wet, cold clothes, and ordered her into the hot tub on the deck. It only took us about three minutes to get her there, but her teeth were already chattering and her lips were blue. She gladly sunk into the hot water up to her chin. A few minutes later her sister joined her.
Aaron surprised us, with his being at the age where younger cousins, especially girls, are a nuisance. We hadnít expected him to volunteer to take them on the four-wheeler, and even less, for him to enjoy it as much as they did. He would never have admitted enjoying it, but the look on his face told more than words could.
When our week was up, the tearful girls were begging to stay, but their momma was on the phone begging for them to come home. They had never been away from home for longer than overnight before, and they were sorely missed.
It was a fun and memorable week, one I hope we can repeat. I would hate for the newfound cousins to forget each other.
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