Tuesday, January 26, 2010
So It's the Laughter We Will Remember
I was very young when I met my cousin, Laura. Perhaps five or maybe six years old? That seems so young, but it has to be true. My mother was dating my stepfather at the time and we made a summer vacation trip to Pierre SD to meet his sister and her daughter. They lived out in the country with land as far as the eye could see ... and horses!! In my little head, it was absolutely beautiful!
A foal was born while we were there!
I learned to “ride” that weekend. Well, I learned to hang on that weekend. And I learned the time tested and most valuable lesson of getting right back on the horse that throws you.
Laura and I hit it off instantly. We were very close in age and our personalities clicked. We rode the horses and climbed fences. We wandered the fields and found a huge pile of dirt to play in. A really huge pile, like the kind of pile you can see from a distance of several miles. A mountain of dirt that would take five minutes to climb to the top and only one to slide back down! We were absolutely filthy when we returned!
We laughed so hard I peed my pants.
My family pitched a tent in my cousin’s yard and while I was in the tent changing my pants (so embarrassing), one by one, each member of our “party” took turns walking by the tent to look in at me with horror and disgust! My soon-to-be aunt said, shaking her head as she walked by the flap of the tent, “And I thought you were a big girl!” She must have insisted my cousin come into the tent to apologize.
“I’m sorry I made you wet your pants.”
Ahhhh ha ha ha ha ha!!! And we laughed some more!
It wasn’t the last time I laughed to the point of pee with my cousin. We became the best of friends. My Gramps called us Kissin’ Cousins. We wandered over most of South Dakota on our bare feet, ice skates, bicycles, horses, canoes, cars ....
She was in my wedding and I was in hers.
I held her son.
And we laughed a lot.
Sadly, Laura battled demons I will never know. For every bit of laughter there was an equal number of tears. I am sorry for her sadness. I am sorry for her pain.
I feel like I said good-bye to my friend a long time ago, but now I say good-bye to my cousin.
Rest In Peace, Laura.
I promise to always remember
Laura McKenna Halligan
September 2nd 1967 - January 21st 2010