Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)
- TITLE: Second Cousin Once Removed
By Yvonne Blake
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Three miles south of the state highway.
Blue balloons bobbed and fluttered
Signs painted, along the way cluttered
Directing all our cousins and kin
To the annual O’REILLY FAMILY REUNION.
Usually the farm was a quiet spot, but…
The lower field wore a new buzz cut,
Baselines, horseshoes, and the volleyball net
Uncles, aunts, boys, girls and yapping pets
Tents and campers one by one appear.
Tables sway ‘neath towers of Tupperware.
Each arrival brought cheers of recognitions,
New in-laws fidgeted with introductions.
Coolers, hampers, and lemonade jugs,
Shouting, laughing, kisses and hugs,
Teams were picked for the big softball game.
Every year it was always the same.
All heads turned, with a sudden hush
Up the dirt road sputtered a VW bus.
It shuddered a minute, then gave out a BANG!
Five boys, three girls, plus twins in their gang
Were all packed in that rusty old sardine can.
They poured from its doors spread out like a fan.
Suspicious glances and puckered stares
Inspected these strangers with straight black hair.
The mother cuddled a babe, two toddlers near.
“Hello,” smiled the father, “we’re finally here.
I have always wanted to see the old farm.”
He hefted a basket. “Can we share some corn?”
“My name is Pedro Bartholomew.”
“Welcome, its good to meet someone new.”
Uncle Roy offered a strong calloused hand.
Pedro removed his hat, with formal stand.
“I’m the nephew of great grandfather, its true.
I’m your second cousin once removed.”
What did it matter what we couldn’t prove?
Our second cousins once removed
Ate our hotdogs at our tables in our chairs.
Joined the softball game with two more players
The little girls played ‘Ring Around the Rosy”
But avoided Aunt Bertha, who was typically nosy.
Those scrawny children had an appetite.
You couldn’t find a leftover bite.
They scarfed down burgers and piled plates.
Even the lemon tarts that tasted great.
Doughnuts, pie, and cookies just vanished
We wondered why they whispered in Spanish.
“We have far to go; we cannot stay.
We thank you for a wonderful day.
Adios, amigos! This day was good.”
The motor roared; smoke rose from the hood.
In a cloud of dust, the bus disappeared
Aunt Bertha shook her head, “Just as I feared.”
She lugged in her arms a stack of books,
We hushed and gave her curious looks.
Looking for something, page after page,
She had our attention, in center stage.
She gasped, “Yes, I knew I was right!”
Standing on the table to give herself height.
“I’ve thought and thought and found it here.”
In puzzled silence we stared back at her.
“Great Grandpa O’Reilly from Ireland
Had no brothers or sisters, do you understand?
He had no nephew, no niece, I have proved;
These weren't our second cousins once removed.”
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