Cousins, part 3

Sunday, October 5, 2014
With Heather and Michael, Christmas 1968. I'm the one proudly wearing my brand-new Liddle Kiddle locket.
Heather and Michael lived in London Ontario, about an hour away from our farm. Heather was the same age as me, born in January to my November. And Gwen and Michael were June and December babies from three years later.

When we were growing up, I always thought how lucky we were, and how selfless our parents were, to let us spend so many weekends at each others' houses. When I became a parent, I realized that for every weekend we spent with the Ogletrees, my parents had some time to themselves, and vice versa. But that doesn't change the fact of how lucky we were.

Of all our Canadian cousins, Heather and Michael were the only ones who lived in the city. When Gwen and I visited, we got to see what life in a suburb was like. I couldn't imagine walking to my best friend's house, or walking to school. The variety store, the Piccadilly Dell, was right across the street from them. When we were young, we visited Storybook Gardens together, and when we were older I was thrilled by riding the bus downtown to see a movie.
Not even a cross-eyed Humpty Dumpty could terrify these intrepid cousins
They were probably equally amazed when they visited us in the country. We played in the corn crib and went for long bike rides down gravel roads. We may not have had a variety store across the road, but when we rode our bikes to Eagle, we bought two-scoop ice cream cones for 50 cents. On Canada Day one year, we had fireworks in our driveway. The sparklers were fun, but I remember Michael being especially keen on the Burning Schoolhouse.

There were probably times when it was fun being our parents, and times when it was not. In the former category, we cousins put on a play for them every time we got together. Sadly, most of the themes escape me, although I do remember a splendid variation on "Welcome Back Kotter".

On the flip side, one year when they stayed with us, Heather slept in the double bed with Gwen and me, with Michael on the pullout couch in the next room. We decided it would be a great idea to play Cowboys and Indians. Michael was the lone bowman who burst into our room pretending to shoot us, and every time we screamed with terror and delight. This went on until my mother convinced the young native that the pioneers needed some sleep, and he probably did too.

When Heather and I were in grade 8, their family moved to England for a year. We missed them terribly, but we wrote letters, and when the year was over, it was as if they'd never been away.

One of my favourite memories is of being on the swings at the local campground. We convinced the other kids that we were all siblings and our last name was "Bakertree". It felt like it was true.

Michael was the superlative good sport, playing in our games and gamely enduring the girl talk. Heather and I went on to be bridesmaids in each other's weddings, and when I was pregnant for the first time, she gave me her crib and baby clothes. Her daughter is expecting her own first child later this month. My wishes for her are many - and include a set of cousins as wonderful as the ones I was blessed with.

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

2 cups peeled, seeded, and 1/2” diced butternut squash
2 cups peeled and 1/2” diced Yukon Gold potatoes (2 medium)
2 cups peeled and 1/2” diced parsnips (1 – 2 medium)
2 cups peeled and 1/2” diced carrots
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash, potatoes, parsnips and carrots in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once. After 30 minutes, toss with garlic and roast for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat. Add rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the butter begins to brown. Discard the rosemary and stir in the lemon juice.

To serve, drizzle rosemary butter on vegetables and serve hot.


Bonnie said...

Beth, what wonderful memories. I, too, grew up on a farm, and had "city" cousins. They lived in a different state limiting visits to once a year. Many good memories were made though.

Thank you for your visit and comment. These are the posts I write then hold my breath. Thank you!

Valerie Gamine said...

I'd have kept a safe distance from the disturbing Humpty Dumpty too. :D
Your recent posts make me wish i had close cousins! Thanks for sharing the memories.

Angie's Recipes said...

Such sweet memories and you know, I can easily spot you from that smile :-)) I wish my relationship with my cousins were as close as you with

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like so much fun. We got together with our cousins a lot too, though usually my parents, their parents, and my grandparents hung out together too. It was really cool that we lived about a block away from some of my cousins and we could walk to their house and play a lot on our own.

Barbara said...

Another fun post, filled with lovely memories, Beth. My favorite cousin passed away many years ago, she's the one I was practically raised with. I have tons of photos of us together and look through them often. She's always in my heart.
Love Ina's roasted veggies!

Jemi Fraser said...

How very lucky you are to have so many cousins. My kids used to put on plays with their cousins all the time too! Fun :)

grace said...

cross-eyed humpty dumpty is frightening!!
your roasted roots are fantastic--they definitely help ease the transition into winter.

Zoe said...

Hi Beth,

Nice that you have kept all these photo very well. These childhood sweet memories are also priceless to me.


Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Now I want to get out the old family photos. Just got the sad news that my aunt--who we stayed with on the family trips--just passed away.

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, I love looking at old family photos. Most of my photos were lost in Hurricane Sandy. I was able to salvage and dry out some, though they will not be quite the same.
I know there is a reason for everything.
I love traveling down memory lane with you.
The recipe sounds wonderful with the rosemary butter.
Blessings dear. Catherine

Sue said...

I, too, was close to my cousins as children, but now, sadly, I do not even know where they live. I got a kick out of your sweet memories which mirror some of my own:)

Monica said...

Writing letters to keep in touch...those were the days! Here's to cousins and childhood memories!

Julie said...

What great stories about the cousins! I always wished I had cousins to be close to in childhood. Delicious roasted veggies, too! Hope you're having a wonderful week.

Juliana said...

Oh Beth...nice memories of your the pictures.
The veggies are great...great as a side dish!
Enjoy your week :D

Marcela said...

What a great stories! I love the photos as well... and your recipe looks soo delicious! I must try it because I crave roasted vegetables right now:p

Anonymous said...

You are so lucky to have such wonderful memories. Love the Humpty Dumpty picture. Thanks for the recipe, too. It's perfect for fall.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Such great memories! And love those pictures -- they're wonderful! I love dishes like this of mixed roast veggies -- something I'm always doing at this time of the year. Good stuff -- thanks.

Joanne said...

A big pan of roasted veggies is all I need in life!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

What gorgeous memories my friend! I love how vividly you share them :D
And I never say no to anything roasted!

Choc Chip Uru

Claudia said...

Sunday was "visiting day" and I would see m Long Island cousins. Six other cousins lived within a four block radius and I still think how lucky we were to have had each other's homes for refuge. The recipe is perfect for the season - I have all the ingredients! It's serendipity!

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