Delta Dreaming: Cousins

            When you come from a rural background where they believed in lots of kids, you have lots of cousins. Some you have to spend too much time with and some you wish you had spent more. We are paying our respects to one of the latter today.

            Her name was Wanda Carolyn (Harris) Freeman and I didn’t know her well. In fact, the two times I had seen her in the last 40 years had been during the final illnesses of my parents.

            Carolyn showed up both times and offered help, sympathy, and encouragement. I will always remember her with the greatest fondness for that. I only wish I hadn’t believed my own life was so important that I didn’t repay her kindness.

                        I don’t even have a photograph of her. The one below is of our grandmother, grandfather, and our uncle Holland. The two produced eight children and that, as you might imagine, resulted in many cousins. I love them all, but it is odd that I hold such a wonderful memory of one of those I knew the least.

It goes to show that you don’t have to be a constant presence in someone’s life to be remembered well. Just a little thoughtfulness and kindness can last a lifetime.

            Carolyn had two sisters that are strikingly beautiful women. I imagine a life in which it was easy to be lost in their glow. I hope her family knows that she created her own glow. If they don’t, I’ll tell them.

It’s a long way to where the wake is to be held. We call it “visitation” in this part of the Delta. In addition, I’ve just experienced a painful tooth extraction. A long trip and a late night is not how I would choose to spend the day. I wouldn’t, though, miss thanking her one final time for her kindness and loving memory.

Then I think I’ll do something nice for someone.


“Cousins are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” - Ed Cunningham



The only photograph we have of Grandpa Harris.
The only photograph we have of Grandpa Harris.

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The von Tungeln Family Tree
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