In “Doulos” the memoir that is soon to be published, an Ozarks Christian boy speaks of his childhood and the many times that he and his cousins gathered at family reunions and holidays to celebrate and spend time together. He talks of how his wife was not accustomed to that, but embraced it from the first 4th of July family celebration she attended in Marshfield, MO some 30 miles up I44 from Springfield.
After the children were born and they had cousins, these gatherings increased in size and frequency. Mother’s Day and other holidays became more and more crowded and crazy as Granny’s family grew to twelve grandchildren. The Kensinger girls were the oldest and started leaving home, getting married and having babies before most of their cousins. In spite of having only three daughters the grandchild count has reached nine and will soon be ten.
Mothers Day this year was one of those holidays when everyone was back in Springfield. The families from St. Louis and Rolla came in on Friday. The two granddaughters in Springfield came to spend the night with the cousins. The basement was full of the older boys and their parents while the girls and the youngest grandson occupied “The Kids Bedroom.”
Cousins are a wonderful thing. From nights on the farm in Marshfield, visiting Lebanon or Ava, there were always people to be around. New places to explore, new stories to hear and tell and a lot of fun to be had. One Clemens reunion in Marshfield as a teenager became a sleepover at the house in Springfield. The excuse was an overnight Star Trek marathon on a local station. The consequence was over twenty cousins in blankets and sleeping bags staying up most of the night and enjoying each others company.
Those times are not forgotten and the memory is being relived again. The Kensinger & White girls don’t gather with the Kensinger boys as they once did. There is a new generation coming up and hopefully the fun and fellowship will continue for generations to come. The Clemens and Kensinger cousins are becoming fewer each year even as the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow. Life may not be long lived, but families are.