We were cousins and had grown up
Close friends, living not far apart.
When I was nine and he was eight,
(His sister and my brothers were younger)
We were going to get married
Some day and have ten children,
Ten dogs, ten cats, and ten horses.
We played on the park playground
(He broke his arm falling from a swing).
We climbed trees, played card games
And board games and soldiers, and
In summer our mothers and we
Cousins took the long trek by train
And boat to swim at Nantasket Beach
One day my father found a new job,
And we moved away, far from home
As we had always known it.
My cousins also moved away,
To another, farther place, so
For years we saw each other only
On holidays or special occasions.
Although we weren’t strangers,
We were never really that close again.
We grew older, married new sweethearts,
And started families of our own.
Of course we always made promises
On Christmas cards, “We really MUST
Get our families together this year!”
But it seemed only funerals or weddings,
A 90th birthday, or a 50th anniversary
Would find us once again together,
Reminiscing about the “good old days”
When we were all children, and
We were oblivious, and time
Seemed to stretch ahead into infinity.
We have lived nearer to each other
In the last few decades, but days
And years have drifted by. Often we’ve
Put off visiting ’til “tomorrow”.
Now we are grandparents, even great
Grandparents, we and our spouses
Suddenly surprised with health issues.
And so we wake to find tomorrow
Is not always a possible option!
Finally, next week, I WILL travel -
It’s not so far - to visit with my cousin,
His sister passed on, wife in the hospital.
He is not well, and she will not,
He tells me, leave the hospital.
Why, as years go by, do we always
Assume an endless supply of time?
We toss off, “See you next week”,
Or “We’ll get together next summer!”
But can we ever be sure of that?
Forget the excuses! Do it now!
We most regret the things we didn’t do!
We had finally made new plans to travel,
At last, to see my cousin Don
And, possibly, even his wife, Ginny.
We had bought the ferry tickets.
But the night before, a storm came up
And forced us to cancel our trip.
Tomorrow I will go to his funeral.
Copyright © Barbara Peckham | Year Posted 2021
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