Loss of a Cousin
My cousin Doug was not only a relative, but a childhood playmate and a confidant through my teens and beyond.
He was one of those folks who truly followed a different drum beat. As a kid he did some things he shouldn't have, and some that were quite remarkable for someone of his age.
One that wasn't so wonderful, but pretty extiging at the time, happened when I was about 10 and he was 11. I was staying at his house overnight. We sneaked out of his bedroom window in our p.j.'s, and we went to someone's house who wasn't home. He had a key and we went inside, each ate an apple from a bowl on their table and left the cores behind. Left and he locked the door behind us.
He taught me how to climb trees. We went on hikes in the mountains and he would find animal droppings and tell what kind of animal they came from and what they'd eaten. Once I carried an alligator lizard home for him after one of out adventures. (I didn't like it much, but it was worth it to be able to go with him.)
In high school, I went with him and his family to the beach, scaled down the Palos Verdes cliffs and caught abalone (I didn't, he and his brother did) but I climbed down there with them and back up, which was scary. We had many beach and mountain adventures with others.
We practiced dancing together, and even went to a couple of high school dances together because people didn't know we were cousins.
He approved of my choice for a husband and I got married, and he went into the Navy. While he was in the Navy he wrote to me and told me about all of his unorthodox adventures in different ports.
He became a kindergarten teacher in Mariposa. Our family went to his mom's and camped there and he taught my youngest son how to gig frogs and of course we all had frog legs the next day.
We saw each other a few times after that, but not in the last few years. I'm sorry we didn't have a chance for more time together as adults.
Rest in peace, cousin Doug. I will cherish all the great memories I have of the exciting times we had.