Sunday, July 1, 2012

Several years of separation

We’re supposed to only be separated from anyone else on the planet by 5 or 6 connections.  The theory is that everyone knows someone who connects them to their connections and if you follow the web you can go around the world in 5 or 6 hops.  Families on the other hand get increasingly separated by time.  You may know your cousins but how many of you know your second or third cousins? 

A little digression is in order because many people think that anyone they are vaguely related to must be a cousin and the less they know that “cousin” the more likely he/she is a 2nd, 3rd or higher order cousin.  It doesn’t work that way.  Quite simply 1st cousins have parents who are siblings.  2nd cousins have grandparents who are siblings.  It gets more complicated when you introduce degrees of removal.  As you count ancestors to the common siblings if each leg of the family tree is of the same length then you just have plain old 1st, 2nd, 3rd or whatever cousins.  On the other hand if you count up one leg to a common ancestor in 2 generations and the other leg only has one generation to a common ancestor then you are dealing with 1st cousins once removed.  Q.E.D.

OK – back to the story.  It’s a natural progression that we move apart from our formerly close relatives.  No matter how well you know your first cousins chances are you can’t even name your 3rd cousins let alone pick them out of a lineup.  So last night it was fun to put some names to faces that I haven’t seen for a long time and even learn a few names of the kids that those long lost cousins have generated.  Those would be 1st cousins twice removed if anybody really cares.

Don and Alice wedding

Yesterday afternoon we drove south to Kennedy which is about the same size as Buchanan.  The occasion was (1st cousin) Donald and Alice’s 50th wedding anniversary.  They were pretty young when they got married which is why I sort of think of Donald as a contemporary.  There was a large family supper in the local hall last night and then a come and go tea this afternoon in the local park. 

Eventually we all will look around the family gatherings and realize that we are the old ones in the room but I was relieved last night to see that we’re not there yet.  We are however closer than I’d like to be to that point.  We’re definitely going to have some much less joyous family gatherings to attend over the next 10 years and after those are behind us we will be the oldsters in the room.

We also used the trip to get reacquainted with Dave and Elaine who we met years ago at Kino Beach on the north end of the Gulf of California.  They live at Kenosee Lake and spend their winters in Lake Havasu so we generally see them at one or the other of their residences at least annually but it had been a few years so we had some catching up to do.  It was good to see that Kenosee Lake is starting to fill up again.  Its been steadily dropping for the last 30 years but the past few wet years have finally reversed that dismal trend.  We didn’t bother taking the Malibu this time but another time it might be worthwhile because there’s almost enough lake there to ski on again.

Tomorrow – painting begins.

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