On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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When it comes right down to it, we’re all just cousins, aren’t we? I write this a day after attending a family reunion for my father’s side of the family. I’m still rather confused at how I’m related to most of the people I met yesterday, but I did spend a lovely afternoon on the Rappahannock.

My paternal grandfather, Nelson Duffey, was the son of Charles Duffey and Mary Catherine Creegan. Charles died when my grandfather and his sister Peg were young, and my great-grandmother remarried a man named Edward Wayson and had 3 more children. Yesterday, several of the Duffey and Creegan families held a reunion, which is really just a reason to talk and eat with people you don’t see very often.

My girls were delighted to meet a grown-up cousin who shares their interest in nature. Cousin Rodney delighted them with pictures of snakes and snapping turtles. They loved learning that he doesn’t kill creatures; he just tags them, sends them on their way, and waits to see how long it takes them to return. Cousin Barbara Jean collects antique dolls, and they were equally delighted to explore her collection. They found the backyard koi pond and proceeded to name each fish. Donna and Jane, your names have finally been passed on to another generation…of fish. Their favorite discovery is difficult to put into words. This is definitely a case where a picture in worth 1000 words.


Cousin Bobby’s toilet: photo courtesy of Pat Corkery


As H astutely commend, “Mom, if someone forgets to flush, everyone will see it.” Need I write more?

In all, everyone had a great time. We visited much-loved aunts, uncles, and cousins. We played corn hole–just what is the obsession with corn hole these days?!–and we lined up for the ubiquitous group photo. We made new friends, and someone tossed her cookies–or, according to my girls, it was mostly carrots. Four hours came too soon, and we piled back in the car to drive home to Maryland. I still can’t tell you the difference between second cousins and first cousins once-removed, but I can tell you that the labels really don’t matter.


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