I have two favorite cousins, one on each side of the family. This revelation is not a surprise to anyone. My cousin Patsy on Daddy’s side of the family is a sweetheart and one of my favorite people in the world. My cousin Yvonne on Mother’s side of the family is also a sweetheart and one of my favorite people in the world. I will write about Patsy later, I’m sure, but this leg of my Retirement Trip was to see Yvonne in rural Vermont.
Yvonne was named after me, Marion Yvonne. When I was seven years old, I began spending two weeks (plus or minus) every summer in Birmingham, Alabama, with her parents, my Uncle Tom and Aunt Mildred, huge influences on my life. Yvonne was born during the second year of this tradition, which lasted until I was in college. So, whenever I can, I try to see Yvonne. It is not an easy trip. Vermont Von now lives way North, an hour from the Canadian border.
Von is always surrounded by her family, and this visit was no different. She has a good husband, Hal, and three adult children, Aaron, Stormie and Kaysi. I am fond of them all. When they were all small, Jenna called Stormie, “Thunder,” close enough for a three-year old.
Vermont Von always fills my time with visits to places such as the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Factory (yum), the Cabot Cheese store (yum), and the Von Trapp Lodge (American home of Maria, from Sound of Music), I have bought two serious winter vests up there from Johnson Woolen Mill and managed to leave a third, a green Filson vest, in New England for four years, with which I was finally reunited last week. I buy gallons of maple syrup from a local hardware store. Where do you get your maple syrup? So we roam Vermont during the day and tell stories of our misdeeds to her kids in the evening. I laugh so hard my face hurts. I think this younger generation is as fascinated by our foolishness as we are by them and their weird behavior. Life goes on, generation to generation.