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America, July 1, 2004

Who Are You and Are We Related?

Do you have the blood of Giuseppe Vota in ya?

Left hand on Blue!
Relatives: Twisted
big kids get wet too
Solution A: Slip n' Slide
the chill crew
Solution B: Solo Shots
you know you liked it
Solution C: Group Photos
While my nuclear family is small, now with just Mom and me, both my folks came from big families. My Dad had four siblings and my mom five. Each of those kids had kids of their own, giving me thirty-some cousins and counting. I'll not even get into the cousins' kids as they're popping out so fast, not even the parents can keep track.

With all this family, in a great crescent from Dallas to El Paso, to Chihuahua, every time I wander by I meet new cousins. At Norman and Karina's wedding in 2002, my first foray south in a decade, I met many of the Chihuahua and El Paso set. This week, in a Dallas stop, I'm checking in on the rest.

For the longest time, 25 years to be exact, my cousins George and Holly were just vague names and stories. I met them once when I was 4 and George had hair, but since then I'd never spoken to them or even seen a photo.

I did know that George was a homebuilder in Dallas for a while and that Holly worked for him for a bit before her husband became a famous Hollywood stuntman but they were my Mystery Cousins till my Dad's funeral.

There, George appeared to comfort Mom and me in our time of need, and I was so moved by his gesture that I kept in touch with him and vowed not to let our correspondence stop. When he heard of my triathlon trials in June, he challenged me.

He challenged me to run one with him in Dallas, and so a month later here I am, in Dallas, demystifying cousin George and preparing for the sprint-distance 2004 Tri-America Triathlon Series on the Fourth of July in Irving, Texas. After this week, he will no longer be a mystery. No, George will probably be a role model.

With two cute kids, a loving wife, good relations with his ex and his friends, he isn't lacking for love. With a nice house, new truck, fashionable clothes, and sweet race bike he isn't lacking for money either. I guess that's expect from a lawyer with offices across the street form Dallas' famous Texas School Book Depository.

Besides George's attempt to starve me before our Forth of July triathlon, its been all family fun. Slip-n-slides, watermelon, and backyard barbeques compete with country club swimming pools and afternoon naps to fill our lazy days of family connections.

Now if we could only be as relaxed as Holly's son Nick. Nick is so mellow as to be the leader of a new religion: Don't worry, be happy. A religion that his family ascribes to, which is such a shock coming from over-ambitious Washington, DC.

Not that they are poor or slackers. No, they are far from that, with Dad leading the way always thinking of new moneymaking ideas. And unlike mine, his actually generate cash. I wish I had that luck and skill!

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1 Comment

It was great to finally meet you Wayan. I have always seen pictures and heard stories of the hadsome, adventurous son of Carlos and Sarah. Holly, Jordan, Nick, and I (Jim) enjoyed your visit and was honored to have you in our home. Thanks for spending time with us. We will look you up when we get to DC. Take care and stay in touch, Jim

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