May 20, 2006: Brett’s Graduation Party

The post title says it all. Today was my cousin Brett’s graduation party and that was about it. He is my middle cousin out of five. Can you believe that I only have five cousins? Can you believe that my oldest cousin is only 22, two are 18 and two are 16? I am so much older than any of my cousins.

Dominica slept in a bit this morning. I got up at 7:40 because Oreo wanted to go outside. I have to take him out early in the morning because Dominica doesn’t wake up to his pacing around the room that he does to tell us that he needs something. So I didn’t get very much sleep, again.

We left the hotel at 11:00 and went across the street to the “Country Diner” and got some lunch which was really just a late breakfast – vegetarian skillets with grits. Then we drove the fifteen minutes over to my grandparents’ house to see them for a little while before the graduation party. We visited for about an hour or so before we went to the party. Oreo and Carmie chased each other around the house for quite some time. Oreo really wanted to play but Carmie couldn’t decide. She would sort of play and then get a little vicious and then play some again. Oreo is enough bigger to hold his own. We don’t have to worry about him.

The graduation party started at 2:00. We got there just before it started. We had a good time getting to visit with everyone. Just about everybody made it so that was nice. It was a ton of driving for us but it is awfully nice to manage to go out to Ohio and get to see everyone all at once for a happy occasion. It is tough being the relatives who moved away. My parents moved from Louisville, Ohio to Rochester, New York in 1967 so I was raised relatively far from the bulk of my family. And since 1994 I have lived all over the place and mostly even farther away from Ohio (although I did live in Michigan and Pennsylvania in 1994, 1995 and 2000 which was a little closer.)

Dad didn’t come out last night but drove out this morning and arrived at the party around 3:00. We would have liked to have come out this morning but we are far enough away now that that would have been just too much for us.

My cousin Monica just stared working at Yoder’s Country Bulk Foods and Deli just up the street from her house (.6 miles, in fact) just three weeks ago. It turns out that she is working for my dad’s first cousin (my first cousin once removed) – Wilbur. She talked dad into going over to see him. They haven’t seen each other since my grandfather’s (dad’s dad’s) funeral in 1971. Wilbur was seventeen years old when dad was born so they never knew each other much at all. (This is yet another example of the two sides of my family interacting. It is really weird. My cousin Gwen on my mom’s side who is Monica’s older sister is named for my dad’s cousin Gwen!)

So I went over to the store with dad where Wilbur, now 77, was working. It is a new store just opened for a month and a half. He had owned a store previously but it had closed some time ago. Wilbur is the first member of my paternal grandfather’s family that I have ever met! Can you believe that? I am thirty years old and finally meet the first person from that side of the family. We talked for a while at the store and we met his wife as well. Wilbur talked dad into taking a quick drive up past the old farm house where he grew up to Wilbur’s place because his mother, my great aunt Naomi was there. This is my grandfather’s oldest sister (I think that I have that right.) She is 97 but doing pretty well. It was neat to get to meet one of my grandfather’s siblings since I never got to meet him. (By never meeting anyone on that side of the family that includes my grandfather himself since he died five years before I was born. He had throat cancer from smoking. I have heard conflicting reports of it being one type of throat cancer or another so I have reduced it to throat cancer.)

We didn’t visit for too long and returned to the party. Today also happens to be my Great Uncle Wendel and Aunt Shirley’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. Uncle Wendel is my mother’s mother’s brother and it was in his basement that I learned to shoot pool when I was very young. It was also at his house that I first got to have mincemeat that my grandmother made for me long, long ago.

My aunt Cheryl and I got to talk a little about some of the genialogical research that we had both done. She has managed to trace family records in Europe back as far as 1495. This is my Dutch heritage from Hees in Holland in the Netherlands. I also discovered from her records that my family had settled somewhat in Somerset, New Jersey in the later seventeenth century. For those who didn’t put two and two together, Warren where I work is in Somerset, New Jersey so I could be living right where my family was over three hundred years ago. Weird.

As it headed towards evening we went back over to my grandparents’ house to hang out so that the kids could party without the old folks. The family visited for about an hour or a little more and then dad and Min and I decided that we needed to get back to the hotel to get some sleep. Dad has a busy day of visiting tomorrow and Min and I have to get back to New Jersey so that I can get to work on Monday where I can sit down and get caught up on the SGL Dailies! 😉

On the way back to the hotel in Alliance Min and I ran into the Taco Bell in Alliance to grab some dinner. We were the only people in the restaurant and it took just about twenty minutes for us to finally get some food! I was not too happy about that. There was no one at the counter and they just left us standing there waiting for someone to show up with food. They totally just didn’t make our order and ignored us standing there. We were there so long that the girl who took our order saw us and asked us if we wanted to place an order. I showed her the ticket and she paniced and got us our food herself at that point. How she could forget her only customers who had just been standing right there in front of the register for twenty minutes with their drinks and their order receipt in their hands complaining about how no one was making their food is beyond me.

It was after midnight by the time that we finally managed to get to bed. Oreo decided that he was in a snuggly mood and he snuggled all night long.

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