In Praise of Cousins by Ms Paige Turner
I have 22 of them. I count them in my sleep when I can’t do the latter. In fact the 22nd is a second cousin (and Lord I have an army of them) but she goes on the list as she’s only ten years younger than me and older than my youngest cousin who is 48.
My eldest cousin was two years older than my mother. My cousins have come and gone in all shapes and sizes and ages and speak with all kinds of accents: Belfast, Mancunian, American, Canadian, Essex and all sorts. One has served in the RAF, another in the Merchant Navy, another in the Wrens, yet another is Master of Masters of Orange Order Lodges, a few are teachers, one has been doing something I would rather not say, one is a film producer, professor, cleaner and maker of leather jackets, model, restaurant owner, cab driver, DJ and chef.
It’s only as I approach my back end of summer that I have started to appreciate their infinite variety. Yesterday I talked to one of them for over two hours (the longest I have done all my life having probably only passed her a vol-au-vent in wedding and funeral buffet queues). And I loved every minute of those two hours, realising that we both majored in English and History and that we share not only grandparents but a wicked sense of humour. She’s not well and being not well has brought us together. But she will mend for I feel it in my bones.
How much have I learned from my cousins …
You can hear me rattling on about Retirement and reading from my collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ with the inimitable Diarmaid Fitzpatrick this coming Friday at 11.00 am on Marlow 97.5 FM Radio/Mid-Morning Matters.
PS Cousins matter.