My cousin, Melody, is my best friend and sister at heart. Laughter would be one adjective to describe us. It began in a small town, population 750, and the home farm. Stewardson, IL was home base for me for four weeks each summer, and the best days of growing up. Priceless!
When asked which season was my favorite, summer was number one, not because of the weather but rather the comforts of belonging.
Being an only child was lonely at times. I was reserved, and home wasn’t exactly full of peace. My parents were good to me and I am thankful for their support and provisions. But Grandma’s house meant cousins (lots of them!), events, and no fights. Mom was one of ten children who grew up on the farm. Her four brothers own farms around the home-place and Grandma’s house was the meeting spot. I wasn’t an “only” anymore; cousins became siblings. I was embraced into the big family and loved learning about the country. The immense love still floods my soul each time I reflect on those summer days.
My cousins were my life. The Four Musketeers they called us: Melody, her sister Tamara, Pam and me. We had 4H and attended VBS, went to the fair and the beach, had sleepovers and giggled. We laughed and laughed and laughed until our sides hurt. It just took one of us to get the
laughter ripple started. Even today at family reunions, we congregate together with daughters and nieces and, inevitably, the sound of joyfulness reverberates to the sky. The elderly aunts and uncles look up, shake their heads, and say, “They’re at it again.”
At Melody’s daughter’s wedding Sunday, laughter rang out at the reception. Daughters and nieces joined in too with the men-folk smiling, shrugging, and joining in. “It’s the Kessler clan again” I heard, smiling from my heart to others. A moment to remember.
A moment to savor.