Thursday, April 9, 2009

Distant Cousins

Wait a minute! “Distant” here doesn’t mean 4th or 5th cousins. It refers to the “distance” they are from me. Kind of like a “trick” of me, isn’t it? (Well, I have to do something to attract attention to the blog.)

Though there are many “cousins” who could be described as “distant” in miles from me, the two I want to talk about now are Rick and Sue Talbot, my second cousins from Connecticut.

Try to follow me here: Sue is the daughter of my First Cousin, Kathryn Ann Fitzgivens Barker, who was the daughter of my dad’s sister, Almeda Fitzgivens. Sue, therefore, is my Second Cousin.

Still on board?

Sue, as well as her mom and dad, have ALWAYS lived in Connecticut. Her dad is Jack Barker, who married Kathryn Fitzgivens. They met in the Navy. Jack was born in London, grew up in New Jersey, then moved to Connecticut to work - spending years in the steel industry, in management positions.

Down through the years (doesn’t that sound like me - an old timer?), the Barkers visited Ohio to see Sue’s Grandmother, Almeda, and other family members. I remember seeing them several times at her house. Sadly, both Almeda and Kathryn have passed on, and we only have memories of them. Though Kathryn (“Kay” to Jack) passed away in Florida, Almeda died in Urbana, and I conducted her funeral.

“So, Mike, why are you bringing up only a pair of your cousins, when you have a “slew” of them?”

Well, after not seeing them for over 20 years (probably more), when my sister Miriam moved into the same Mobile Home Park as Jean and me, Sue and Rick showed up one day at Miriam’s door. Long lost cousins!

They did more than “show up”. They dug right in and helped Miriam (over 90 years of age) do everything she needed to do. Especially, after she decided to enter the Ohio Masonic Home. They took her on rides, visited our old hometown of Mechanicsburg with her, and had “a jolly old time” - at least Miriam did.

When finally Miriam decided that at her age, she might need some extra help getting around, cleaning house, fixing meals, etc., she decided to enter the Ohio Masonic Home.

This is where Sue and Rick excelled.

I don’t mean to indicate that they were the only ones who helped, because Miriam’s long time friends and financial counselors from Phoenix, came, just before she moved in.

But, Rick and Sue were the ones who stayed, and helped her get settled. They put pictures on the wall, got her a desk, an overstuffed chair (which I inherited), a digital clock, some clothes and anything else that she needed, to get settled.

Since Jean and I lived in the same Mobile Home Park as Miriam, we were with them quite a lot - and enjoyed the local travels and sight seeing. When our Granddaughter Kelly brought our two great-grandchildren here to celebrate birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Parlor, Rick, Sue and Miriam joined Jean and me in celebrating. Though I crawled through the “tubes” with the kids, they watched and enjoyed.

The time finally came when Miriam went to be with the Lord, at age 92. Since Miriam no longer needed their fellowship or help, we haven’t seen them since. That’s not to say we’ve lost contact with them. We e-mail a lot, and talk on the phone occasionally. We exchange cards and family info.

Sue’s dad, Jack Barker, lives in Florida, where he and Kathryn settled quite a while before Kathryn passed. At vacation time, Rick and Sue “crank up” their large pick-up and large travel trailer, and visit Jack in Florida for a month or two.

The last time they were there, I tried to convince them to stop by Springfield on the way home to Connecticut. Sue laughed, and said, “You’re just like Miriam. It must be a family thing. To drive to Springfield ‘on the way home’ would be an extra 1,400 miles for us.”


But, intrepid senior citizen that I am, I wouldn’t “take that lying down”, so I e-mailed them the other day, with a “vacation offer” I think they can’t refuse. I sent them a list of places they could visit if they came here this summer on vacation.

Places? How about

Air Force Museum; Armstrong Space Museum; Columbus Museum of Science and Industry; Ohio State University; Dayton Art Museum; Holmes County Amish Country; Cincinnati Zoo; Columbus Zoo; Indianapolis Speedway; WEEC; and the memorable city of Mechanicsburg OH, et al.

The final results of this quest of mine aren’t available yet, but I did get an encouraging e-mail at 11 o’clock last night that said,
“Oh boy! Very compelling, Cousin Mike.”

Ya know what? I THINK they’re gonna come.

Time will tell.

“Cousin Sue, COME ON DOWN!”

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