40 doesn’t seem too old anymore. It never seemed “old” to me, just, rather, “far” off. A number of my friends and family will cross that milestone this year, including my sister. Today, however, one of my most favoritest cousins crosses the 40 threshhold.

I have a TON of first cousins. Both my parents came from big families and their brothers and sisters took the “be fruitful and multiply” command quite seriously. Interestingly, most of these first cousins are old enough to be my parents. The exception to this family rule was my mother’s sister Pat had a second marriage and proceeded to have three children in stairstep order and they are the only first cousins close to my age. They lived in Alexandria, Louisiana, and we usually saw them at least twice a year. The highlight of the year was going to Alex or them coming to Nashville. The culmination to the Nashville trip was the trip to Opryland (see photo of us in our Dr. Pepper shirts in 1979-cool does not describe us. Also note the little dark headed girl on the top left that insisted on wearing the different Dr. Pepper shirt. I was such a rebel without a clue)

All of us kids thoroughly adored and enjoyed each other. The memory closet of times spent with these kids is so large, the blogosphere wouldn’t hold them all.

Cousin Kim was the second of these three and the only relative (up until my own daughter was born) that I knew of that was blonde and blue eyed. My mother’s family was full of black hair, almost black eyes and all on the short side. Kim was blonde, blue eyed, long and lanky. She has never for a second had to worry about gaining an ounce and somehow she missed that awkward stage the rest of us had to endure. She could turn flips, dance, always had a boyfriend and was extremely popular in high school and college. She was even a friggin beauty queen and competitive gymnast.

We used to play Charlie’s Angels (Kim was always Farrah), tell ghost stories, play Swinging Statues, jam to the DeFranco’s while watching their ultra groovy record player light up in time with the music, go to the mall and stay up most of the night howling with laughter until Aunt Pat would come fuss at us, without her teeth in..making us laugh more.

Kim and I communicate pretty regularly through email. I’ve only seen her once in the last 20 years but she keeps me up to date on her family and now that her mother is gone, she is the lifeline to this branch of our family tree we love so much.

Happy 40th Kim….maybe we can go down to Valentine Lake to celebrate!