I'm going up to Napa tomorrow to spend the night with my cousin and his wife. He's my first cousin. I have four on my Mom's side, none on my Dad's. I don't know any of them all that well. I met all of the when we were kids, but this is the only cousin I've connected with as an adult.
We re-met a few years ago. On that night, as usual, I was wearing my grandfather's ring. Our grandfather's ring. My uncle, his father, was a very, very damaged man who passed it on. Once their mother finally kicked him out of her life for good, they didn't have anything to do with our side of the family for decades. I wish I could say the same for my uncle. He's dead now. No one cares. Maybe my Mom does, a little. I was relieved, as I always feared he'd show up on my doorstep in California. My cousin told me each of his children feared the same thing. No tears were shed.
None of us knew our grandfather, as he was killed in an accident when my Mom was five. But one of my first cousins once removed (I'm pretty much related to everyone in West Virgina; the stories are true) gave me one of his rings that my grandfather's brother's daughter had acquired. She gave it to my cousin once removed. He gave it to me when I met him for the first and only time.
I wore it every day. When I was out with my first cousin (let's just call him "D"), he commented in it. I gave it to him. I know he appreciated it.
I appreciate finally getting to know some relatives. My Mom left West Virigina and didn't look back until recently.
Despite being such a large family, and scattered throughout the Southeast now, the others have stayed pretty connected. I'll go back there some day. But for now, I'm ready to share some West Coast living with D and his wife.
I guess I'll be the designated driver. I never cared that much about wine even when i was drinking. It was fine. I enjoyed trying different types. Thank God they're not planning a distillery tour. That would be rough. Anyway, they've been there since Monday. Hopefully they're wine-tasted out and on to other things.
This is going to be fun.