Most people are lucky enough to have five or six cousins. I, on the other hand, have been blessed with over 100 hundred first cousins. My Dad is one of 14 children and my Mother the youngest of 16. I have 12 uncles and 15 aunts, and the funny thing is, it’s completely normal to me.
People often ask me what’s it like to be part of a family like mine?
Even though we see each other on a daily basis, family parties are still a huge deal. Almost everyone brings something to eat, baked goods like buns and rhubarb tart. The egg salad sandwiches are a family favourite and tea is poured and drank like water.
There are hordes of people jammed into rooms standing, sitting, shouting and screaming. Religion is preached and marriage is strongly encouraged. The most common question you will be asked,
“What are you doing with yourself these days?” If you are a female and over 25 the question must be followed up with one of these two answers 1. You’re engaged to married. Or 2. You’re already married and you’re now pregnant. If you’re a male you can respond in whatever way you think is necessary at the time. I JOKE…. Not really though.
The teenagers can be found hiding behind an old diesel tank or loitering behind a tree, smoking fags of course and drinking liquor stolen from the adults. They think no one knows what they’re up to but we all do. Those of us in our 20’s will mingle among the aunts and uncles for a while, until we crack open the wine and then we will slip out the side door and start our own party.
If I had to choose one word to describe my big family, it would be loud. Extremely loud. With kids screaming and the men all shouting about John Deere tractors, farming and the price diesel, there’s never a dull moment.
Have a listen to my radio documentary Harneyville.