Monday, July 6, 2009

Kids, Cake and Cornhole

I visited with my cousins and their families on Sunday, and it reminded me why I like them so much. It also make me feel guilty for not spending more time with them.

Dori and her family live on a farm in Indiana, while Debi and her family are from Cincinnati's West Side. If you know anything about Cincy, you will know that the East Side and the West Side are like East Berlin and West Berlin, but without the wall. It's tough to cross that invisible line. As a resident of Clermont County, I am far east of the Great Divide called Vine Street. Still, I make exceptions, and will endure any difficulty for family, even driving over an hour west.

Debi and Dori delivered their youngest children, both sons, a few days apart, right around the Fourth of July, and ever since, we have used that holiday to celebrate their joint birthdays. This weekend marked the 17th anniversary of their births. (Seventeen? No, no - they are just babies. They can't be high schoolers, with driver's licenses and summer jobs. Say it ain't so!)

My aunt always made holidays and family get-togethers special, and her daughters are carrying on in their mother's footsteps. From the delicious meal (I ate a new vegetable dish, and liked it!) that ended in cake and
homemade ice cream to the "kids table" in the family room, everything was as it should be, every tradition observed. My favorite? - the brown paper "tablecloth" and Crayola markers that adorned the kids' table.
Ranging in age from 17 to 24, the kids were just kids again, coloring on the tablecloth (and each other) while discussing politics and pop culture. Even Megan's boyfriend got in the spirit of the frivolity. God, I love these young people. Even if every last one of them broke their promise to me, not to grow up, to stay little forever.
No birthday is a party without cake, and the singing of "Happy Birthday" (in four or five different keys.) And the birthday boys blew out their candles with good-natured enthusiasm. Well, maybe not "enthusiasm," but at least, they indulged us old folks.The farm started out as my aunt and uncle's weekend retreat, a place to go to get away from pressures of work, to take church and school groups for a day in the country, and to celebrate family events. After they retired, my aunt and uncle built a log home and moved there permanently. My cousin moved there, too, to establish her own home and family.

Now, Dori is trying to turn the hobby farm into a paying venture. One of her many schemes is the raising of meat goats, Boer goats, specifically. I have always enjoyed goats. They are funny and friendly, very social and engaging.They are also smart. Too smart, in fact, as Dori's goats are always inventing new ways to escape their enclosures and search for greener pastures.I am more familiar with dairy goats than meat goats, and one thing which surprised me was how small the does were, especially compared to the big billy. And he was a BIG BOY, too, in more ways than one!! Apparently, he is also very stinky, but lacking a sense of smell, that didn't bother me.

DON'T click to enlarge,
you will get me an NC-17 rating!

Dori is also raising and selling Maremmas, a guardian breed of sheepdog that is trained to live with its charges: sheep, goats, or other small livestock. Unlike herding dogs, guardian dogs don't move the sheep from one place to another. Instead, they lie in the fields, pretending to be just another lump of
white fur and flesh (most of these breeds are white) waiting for their chance to protect the sheep from predators, like wolves, coyotes, or other dogs. Bad me, I missed taking photos of the dogs. I am not afraid of most dogs, but I am not ashamed to admit that these dogs earned my respect right away. I didn't have to be told not to try to pet them. They take their job very seriously.

Finally, I know you are waiting for the "cornhole" part of the title. This is a unique, West-side Cincinnati sport that combines the finesse of horsehoes with beanbag tossing. It is catching on in Ohio, and across the country. It has even begun to be played - GASP! - on the East-side of Cincinnati. Truly, this is the sport of diplomacy.

Bill and his son, Bram
Eddie, with his son, Adam
I can't get over how much each boy looks like his dad.
(Maremmas in the background)

Watch the navy blue cornhole bag, in the upper left hand
corner of this photo, as it
flies through the air.
Now, see it softly land on the board.
Score!
You gotta use "burst mode" for the action shots!

Debi's 13 year old Vizsla, Treybo
(Hope I spelled that right)

A little lumpy, a little creaky,
but still able to referee a cornhole game

My Uncle Dick, enjoying watching the game, and listening to all the excuses:

"These bags are too light."
"The boards aren't slippery enough."
"There is a dog in the way"
"Too much wind."

Yeah, boys - right.

Family. The only people who have to take you the way you are. Hug a relative today.

8 comments:

Susan Gets Native said...

Holy crap! Those were the goat's TESTICLES??? Are you sure that wasn't a female goat and udders??? OY!

Cornhole....man....DEFINITELY a West Sider thing.
Cincinnati is weird.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

snort!

I thought it was the goat's udder too!

Lisa said...

You get an F in French spelling. It's "Tres Beau." Goofball.

KatDoc said...

Lisa: Well, the dog is Hungarian and the family is mostly German, so why should I think her name would be French? Goofball.

Susan and Lynne: I should have counted on you two checking out the goat's package. Now, we just need to wait for Beth to sign on ...

~K

Beth said...

Yeah, yeah...I'm here. Just too much in shock from that picture to comment! Geez - that poor female!

Beth
*shudder*

Susan Gets Native said...

Who knew GOATS were so well-endowed?

holly-the-person said...

I had to enlarge too, just to see if it really was what I thought it was. Wow, I am uh..impressed.

There is just something special about cousins and extended family isn't there? I'll be with all of mine in a few weeks in Maine and although it won't be quite the same this year, we'll still visit all the old haunts, get out the 40+ year old KerPlunk! game, sing the old songs and bring out all the old stories and jokes.

Tim said...

too funny!