I read once that families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
Whenever I can remember any of their birthdays, I‘m going to post a blob about them and show their photos and any of their cousins born on the same year they were. If they ever actually meet, instead of saying, “Hi, Stranger”, they can say, “Hi, Cuz. Relatives ‘R Us.”
Today, my great-nephew Brian Donald Ford is 22 years old. Of the multitude, I think there are only two of Brian’s cousins born the same year he was — 1988. They are Bryce Covey, born 1/11/88 and Sonja Opsvig born 5/2/88. Bryce and Sonja are first cousins, and they’re second cousins to Brian. Please holler if I haven’t confused you enough, or if I missed any more 1988 babies.
Let’s get them introduced.
My grandson Bryce Covey is currently in his last college year at Whitworth College in Spokane. In January, he’ll head to Costa Rica for five months of international peace studies. This year he received his certification as a Emergency Medical Technician and (over my protests) became a USPA A-licensed skydiver. He works all the gigs he can juggle as a successful professional photographer. You can see his work on his website www.brycecoveyphotography.com.
Brian’s other second cousin born in his birth year is my granddaughter Sonja Opsvig. Her family lives in North Bend but Sonja is currently studying at the University of Washington and shares an apartment with her sister Erica.
She’s an accomplished singer and an award-winning Irish dancer. She’s working part-time as a barista at a Starbucks near the university. And she’s just as kind as she’s beautiful.
Now for the birthday boy – the actual subject of today’s blob.
Brian Ford (grandson of Uncle Don) recently moved from Eugene to his own apartment in Medford, Oregon. Right in the midst of the move, he went long-boarding and broke the fibula bone in his leg. What some people will do to weasel out of doing the packing!
He chums a lot with his first cousin, Scott, born in 1987 (my nephew Jimmy’s son).
When he was in grade school he lived next door to his grandfather (my brother-in-law) Don Ford. I remember what good friends they were. Don says they must have watched every John Wayne movie ever made, and they just liked to hang out together.
Before he took up long-boarding as a means of near-suicide, Brian used to play some serious baseball and football. His dad (my nephew) Steve coached teams in Eugene so sports figured prominently in their family schedule. Both of them were dedicated fishermen, too. Whenever we visited in Eugene, we hoped they’d be serving some of their home-smoked fish. Yum.
Even before the fishing habit, Brian was always a water baby. His mother, Babs, told me, “I remember one hot summer day spent on the Umpqua River with friends in Roseburg, Oregon. I had not packed a bathing suit for Brian so he wore only a diaper. At one point, we docked and Brian spent the next hour jumping off the dock into his father’s arms who would then take him back to the dock for another go at it. By the time the hour was over his diaper was so full of water I am not sure to this day, how it stayed attached to his body.”
As his great-aunt, the thing I remember best about Brian is that from the time he was about 5 years old, you could actually carry on a conversation with him. Every adult loves that. Every adult is convinced that our dialogue is more “meaningful” than that of the child’s more age-impaired companions. We eat it up when a little kid sits down and manages to actually discuss something like the World Series, current events, or – get this, – asks us how we’re doing. Brian is an “only child”. We don’t have many of those in the family. He shares a quality in common with others of that breed. They know how to “dialogue”. Like, when he was little tyke, he used to actually ask us, “How are you, Uncle Gene?”, or, “Did you like Grandma’s (Lorraine) purple pillows, Aunt Patti?” (Yes, I did. And who wouldn’t love the little person who just asked me that?)
Have a happy birthday, Brian. Come visit more of your 14 second cousins on this side of the mountains sometime. But please don’t come on a longboard. We get around in cars here.
Desmond Tutu said this: “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”