My cousin Jane from Santa Barbara is currently visiting us in Philadelphia.   She’s like the sister I never had, and we are having a great time – talking a mile a minute, laughing our heads off, finishing each other’s sentences, comparing notes on which words and overused phrases we hate, recommending books back and forth, and catching up on family news.

 At Trader Joe’s to pick up fondue supplies, Jane persuaded me to buy a bag of mini potatoes, because she had enjoyed them as a vehicle for fondue in France – and they were a big hit in our house last night as well.   Now whenever we have tiny potatoes with our melted cheese, we will toast Jane.  Also at TJ’s, Jane had looked around in bafflement and asked “Where’s the liquor?”  You’re not in California anymore.  This is Pennsylvania, where liquor and wine must be sold in Soviet-style state stores.  That’s their catchy name:  State Stores.  Jane was shocked.

Because our cousin David recently moved to the City of Brotherly Love, we met him and his wife Alison for a delightful lunch yesterday in West Philadelphia.  Born in the same year, Jane and David had not seen each other since they were pre-teens. 

After dessert and coffee, we tried to recreate a photo taken by our Grandpa John many years ago, with Chris acting as photographer and Alison as assistant.  Bear in mind that we were trying to copy our original positions and facial expressions. 

The original, circa 1963:  l-r front row:  Jennifer, Jane, David (my brother Jim behind)

And in 2010:

Our thanks to the very patient staff at The White Dog Cafe for indulging our silliness, and to Jane and David for re-creating their original doleful expressions – caused, no doubt, by Grandpa John’s eternal fussing with the light meter. 

Ah, cousins.  There’s nothing like ‘em.

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