My second cousin, whom I have “met” only on social media, graduated from high school. This autumn, she will start at a private college. I was invited to attend her open house in Saint Paul.
I jumped at the chance to visit her house. I have not been to the Twin Cities in 30 years. I have never met the high school graduate or any of her siblings. Her father and I are among 16 first cousins. I have not seen her Mom or Dad since our Grandma’s 1996 funeral in Marshfield. Her Dad and I were among the pallbearers.
I have spent time with all of his siblings and met most of their children. Her Dad and I are not just cousins. Among all the cousins, he is closest in age to me. There are pictures of us together as babies, toddlers, children and teenagers. I remember going to his father’s funeral when we were still children..
I talked with my cousin quite a bit. He told me things about himself I never knew, such as his ability to jump high enough in high school that he could put his whole elbow above the rim. He remembered many things that I had forgotten. For example, I had forgotten I introduced him at 1977 Marshfield high school graduation open houses as my cousin from Australia. He always has slain me. His delivery is still mock seriousness.
His mother was at the open house. My aunt did not know I was going to be there. She invited me to come to her cabin on Richter Lake in Taylor County when my cousin Lynne and her daughter are there. Like my son, Eric and my cousin, Judy, Lynne teaches public school. Lynne lives in California. I have never met her daughter.
I had forgotten how much I like the Twin Cities. When I was freshly graduated from college, I pursued employment in Minneapolis. The Cities are so unlike Madison in a couple of ways that I dislike about living in Madison again. My preferences are no secret.
Madison is both the whitest and most leftist place I have ever lived. Moderates like me are shamed and lectured. When I lived in Michigan, my moderate views did not stand out. People of color were local news anchors, journalists, Republicans and lobbyists. My views would not stand out in a big place like the Twin Cities. People of color were at my cousin’s open house. So were children of Michelle Bachman.
I have a network of family and friends in the Cities. Saint Paul is a state capital. Maybe I’ll start to look there for employment again.