My cousins and I have had a rather rough year. Starting with the death of my dad in January, we have lost one more aunt and another uncle since January of this year. We've been reminded of the fact that our time here on earth is limited over and over. One of my cousins, Joan, had the brainstorm that we should capitalize on our time here on earth together and have a girls weekend away. We had just that this past weekend. It made me think of this acronym:
A familiar acronym, but stiil a beautiful one. One I saw live and in action this weekend.
It was our first (now annual, I guess!) Cacklin' Cuzins Getaway in Hocking Hills. The storybook version would read something like this:
The female cousins gathered on the second Saturday of October to spend quality time together and share family stories around a cozy campfire.
OUR version is a little different. hee hee!
Since we couldn't get in our cabin until 3 pm, but couldn't wait to get together, we started our journey around 9 am to begin to pick people up for our long drive. We met other cousins at a Red Robin restaurant in Columbus to celebrate Sharon's birthday (that's in June! LOL), have lunch with Aunt Delores, and continue on to meet up with the others in Hocking Hills.
We arrived at the cabin around 3 pm. There were 10 of us in our group, and by then the other 4 were already there. Two of our cousins were unable to attend, and were sorely missed! We did share a few laughs in their honor! :)
We spent most of the weekend reliving family memories, sharing food (lots and lots and lots of good food!), hiking a little, and most of the group (sans me and two others) even ziplined! We hot-tubbed, sat by the campfire and sang songs and told more stories, laughed a lot, and even cried a little! We were even treated to a visit by the queen and even her princess!
(Ideally, photos would be inserted here, but that's not working, so use your imagination!)
We DO have male cousins -- 22 of them to be exact -- but they weren't invited. We decided that boys would be too much work! :)
One of those male cousins is a priest. So, Sunday, when our time at the cabin was over, we travelled about 1/2 hour to Lancaster to go to his "new" church (he's been there since July). He knew we were coming (we felt it only fair to give him warning!). It was kind of funny to walk in with a group of 14 women and all sit in one pew. I could tell people were looking at us -- trying to figure out who/what we were. You have to admit that it isn't often that you see that many women, all of similar ages, without a good reason why they were together!
Mass began, and we weren't sure that Craig even noticed us. Until.......he began his homily. He began by asking the congregation to remember a couple of months ago when he came and he decided to bypass a biography for a simple homily on the Sunday Gospel. "Until today," he said. "I have 14 female cousins in the congregation, including 2 of my sisters. If you see them after church, don't believe a word they say!" LOL He then asked us to stand, at which time they gave us a round of applause. I couldn't figure out if that was because we were his cousins, because we were all together, ,or if it was because they felt sorry for us!
Following mass, Craig gave us a tour of his BEAUTIFUL rectory, which ended in the dining room and kitchen, where he had a lovely lunch laid out for us. (Hey, maybe the boys COULD fend for themselves and be an asset on a trip??? :) We finished out the weekend with a few photos on the steps of the rectory. After a few hugs, we went our seperate ways.
And it was over. Just that fast. A weekend we had planned, and looked forward to, for a long time. But it's ok. We planned another one for next year. We decided this should be an annual event. We hope the other two can make it next year!
I have to say that in reliving the weekend, the thing I am most thankful for is the gifts that our parents have given us. Most importantly, they taught us the importance of family. We are there for each other, whenever we need each other. We may not know each other intimately, but that's ok. We all know where we came from, and greatly value the gift of each other.
Saints Josephine and William, pray for us!