SturmTrek – Cousins abound!

After an exciting day at the zoo, we headed out to my cousin Kristen’s graduation party. (My dad and her grandfather were brothers, so she’s actually my first cousin once removed.) Kelli, Sophie & Daphne were excited to meet their cousins. We drove from Omaha across the river into Council Bluffs, Iowa and then out into the country. My cousins now own the farm that my dad grew up on. The last stretch of road out to the farm is very hilly and windy. When my sister and I were kids, Mom and Dad kept us entertained for that last 16 or so miles by convincing us to count the hills and curves. This almost always led to arguments over what constituted a hill or a curve and what number we were on, but I guess they were able to successfully tune that out. I had to make one stop just off the road on this trip though, so we skipped that this time.
We parked in the driveway and walked down to where Grandpa used to keep his tractors, past the small garden that Grandma used to plant (Garden’s still there. They had all kinds of yummy-looking vegetables growing in there!) I wasn’t sure how many of my cousins would be there. My dad’s oldest brother had 5 kids, 3 of which are still in Council Bluffs (the other two live in California). Billy, who was named after my dad, and his wife Annette, are the ones with Kristen, the graduating daughter. Their other kids are Jimmy, Beth, Emily and Anna, who is the youngest at 16. I saw Beth first, then her mom. Kristen was in high demand, so I just got to say hi to her briefly, although Sophie and Daphne hung around her cute table full of pictures and memories long enough to pick up one of each of her senior pictures (all of which were wonderful, and of course, I have TWO copies of each!)
As per any Bracker event, there was a TON of food, so we went through the line to get food. A lady who I swear I’ve never seen before in my life began talking to me. I thought she was just being friendly until she said “So you must be Bill’s daughter” or something like that. As it turns out, she’s my cousin too. My grandmother’s younger brother’s daughter, so I think that makes her my second cousin. Go figure. It set the tone for the rest of the evening, which mostly involved me saying to my kids “and this is also your cousin, his name is Bruce…” and so on. It felt really good to be out of the farm, enveloped by a great big family again.
I had been looking around for Billy (he actually goes by Bill now, but I can’t seem to call him anything but Billy) and I finally found him. Pretty much all of us Bracker’s are tall, but I think Billy might be the tallest of the bunch. I have to stand up on my toes to hug him, so he must be at least 6’4″. I was struck by how much he looks like my Dad. Since I also look just like my Dad, I guess that means I must look a lot like Billy, so no wonder everyone there knew who I was (or at least that I belonged there!) I think it’s mostly in the eyes. We all have those same slightly mischievous, always up-to-something smiling eyes.
Billy’s two sisters that still live in Council Bluffs were also there, Kathy & Mary Jane. Kathy also had her daughter Haley, who was babysitting her brother, Jason’s two kids. Wow. They can’t have kids. They’re like twelve! (Actually, Im sure Jason & Haley are in their mid to late twenties at this point, but if I think about that too long, I start to feel old) Then it occurred to me that Billy probably feels the same way about seeing me with kids.
Speaking of the kids, they were having a great time running free all over the farm, just like I did as a kid. With family all around, other kids their age to play with, and not too much that could really injure them, I wasn’t concerned about their whereabouts. David and I had a nice time having actual adult conversation without interruptions every ten seconds. Oh, and did I mention the horses? Yeah, right, the kids were REALLY excited about the horses and were asking Billy if they could ride the horses. He invited us back the next day and we were thrilled to accept. Yeah, I love horses too. I think I was just as excited as the kids were, but more on that coming soon!

2 thoughts on “SturmTrek – Cousins abound!

  1. I think Dad was actually the one who instigated the hill/curve debates on the way to the farm. And we never got the same count of hills &/or curves twice, I think.

  2. Yeah, I’m sure it was. Ornery fellow he was, and yeah, we never did get the same count twice – even in the same trip!

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