SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

Back in the ol’ days when families were large and relatives rarely moved further than 30 miles away, cousins were part of the fabric of our lives.  They were at our home or we were at theirs. We played.  We went to church together. We played again. Their parents babysat us for various reasons. We played and played and played. We went to family reunions.  Where – you guessed it, we played some more. We were family. 

Now Mom was not the best cook in the world, but her sisters definitely made up for it. Aunt Polly could make real spaghetti that didn’t come out of a box.  Aunt Nancy made fried chicken to die for while Mom only made the cereal-coated, baked kind.  And – dessert at either house was mouthwatering.  However – to be fair – Mom could make some really good desserts – – -when she didn’t get busy doing something else and burn whatever was in the oven. (Unlike most of my cousins and friends, I had no idea that chocolate chip cookies weren’t mean to be hard and burned on the bottom until I went to college.)

Gonna take a sentimental journey.
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a sentimental journey,
To renew old memories.

This has been a week full of sentimental journeys.  Sentimental journeys that included my cousins. I LOVED going to my cousins’ homes – whether for a week of “camp” (while Mom and Dad had their own “vacation”) or just for a day of family “get-together”.  Didn’t matter if we only went across town or drove for an hour.  It was a “cousin” adventure.

This week has been one of those weeks when the bittersweet memories have drifted across my brain on a fairly regular basis since I’ve been recovering from an inner ear infection.  Most times, I don’t have a great re-call of my childhood.  Not sure why, but when something triggers a memory, I am blessed with some tears and a smile.  This week one of my cousins decided to join the rest of the McCaskey clan in heaven so the trigger was pulled back.

Got my bag, got my reservation.
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
Long to hear that “All aboard”

Mike was one of those baby cousins that I tended to ignore on most of our visits. One – he was a boy. Two – when he was born, I was entering my teen years.  Except for getting paid for babysitting, I didn’t care much for babies. They are cute, but they don’t do much.  I remember Aunt Nancy’s house because there were lots of cousins, there were babies, and there were bunk beds. Bunk beds, to my way of thinking, were the absolute wonder of the world. There was lots of space to run outside. There were new games of pretend to enact.   And – they got 2 more TV stations then we did – or maybe they just got a different station then we did.  After all – homes that got 3 stations all the time were hard to find.

Pretend games of being a flying horse who could change into a human was my favorite.  But one time, when the McCaskey sisters had a mini reunion at Aunt Nancy’s house and all the cousins were there, the 3 girl cousins decided to take on the way too many boy cousins.  I remember we blockaded the bedroom door and were jumping from bunk bed to bunk bed. I was a midnight black panther who, of course, could change into a person.  Eventually, I was set loose from the confines of the bedroom and led the chase of all who dared torment us.

How it ended – I have no idea.  I just remember the chase, the laughter, the meals, and the love of family surrounding all of us as we fought, played, fell on each other and prayed together at night where I got to sleep in one of those dreamy bunk beds.  Sentimental journeys always bring a treasure forward in this crazy brain of mine. Bittersweet or not – I love walking backwards for a short time and just letting the memories push me towards home. 

Never thought my heart could be so ‘yearny’.
Why did I decide to roam?
Gotta take that sentimental journey,
Sentimental journey home.

Blessed is God The Father of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, The Father of mercy and The God of all comfort, He who comforts us in all our afflictions that we also can comfort those who are in all our afflictions, with that comfort by which we are comforted from God.”~2 Cor 1:3-4 

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