When I think about happy times and happy places, this is a perfect distillation of what I see--not just this day, but any day when all of us cousins gathered together in that red-brick house, surrounded by our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, with the swing set and playhouse in the back, and the apple trees to climb, and the metal storage building where Pa kept his riding lawn mower out back, and the train set in the attic, and running and laughing and arguing and yelling and eating, and sometimes TV, and not wanting to go home at the end of the day.
It was so wonderful to be young, and to have siblings and cousins to share it with, and an abundance of grown-ups who loved us.
I wish we could go back and do it all over again. I wouldn't change a thing.
* * *
Very early this morning my cousin Sharon, topmost in the picture above, left us after a year-long battle with a rare form of brain cancer.
I can't believe she's gone.
How can it have been forty years already since this picture was taken? How can it go by so quickly?
Goodbye, Sharon. I'm grateful we had so many times like the one shown above. I'm so sorry you had to leave so early.