Cousins Gather


We have landed back at home after our road trip to South Dakota. We started on a rough note with some suspected brake problem that sent us home to trade cars. Folded like human origami we headed west. We buried Mom’s ashes in a beautiful service, stopped in Chamberlain, and ended up across the state in a lovely home on Deer Mountain/Terry Peak. 6600 feet elevation, or so I am told.

Getting there was a drive across the state. We stopped at the Badlands. I have seen these land forms many times, but every time I see them, I am amazed.


Another stop for lunch at the famous Wall Drug. My girls had never been and one of them said, “This is like Disney World.” Yes, but it predates Disney, and where else can you see a six foot concrete Jackalope?

Along with my family, all of my siblings and first cousins on my father’s side (and their families) were gathered in the Black Hills. Twenty seven people eventually. We read books, talked, walked the amazing Michelson trail (and I am personally evangelizing the Sugarloaf trailhead leading back to Englewood), cooked food for and with each other, shared wine and boutique beers, swapped gluten free recipes, drove the wildlife loop in Custer State Park, bird watched, checked out the tourist spots -both closed and active- and had a wonderful week. Hot during the day, the house was situated in such a way that the evening draft of air down the mountain cooled everything off. So nice to pull out a sweater in the evening.

My sister and her husband found a perfect spot for the gathering. Many common spaces (the main house had three porches, two sitting rooms) and private spaces (eleven bedrooms in two houses). My children are old enough to want to be with their cousins, so we adults got to spend adult time. It is amazing how all of our children make these gatherings a priority in their lives.

Personal, public, private. Love, food, understanding, books. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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