I know this because for my formative years my favorite location
in the whole world was Carver Road in Modesto, California.
On that strip of sun warmed road there were four houses backed up
against 40 acres of almond orchards lined up one after the other.
Grandma and Grandpa Blakeley's, Uncle John and Aunt Neva's,
Uncle Phil and Aunt Lana's and Uncle Carl and Aunt Joanna's.
My mom's family. It was a veritable cousin heaven.
When Uncle Terry and Aunt Mary showed up with their 7 boys
there were 20 of us cousins in all.
The adults kept to the houses. Us kids were out in the orchards.
In the doughboy behind Uncle John's. In the pool at Aunt Joanna's.
In the tank house behind Uncle Phil's. We were chasing lizards,
eating peaches and riding ATC's, begging for homemade ice cream
and trips to Al's (a gas station) for candy.
We were outside for hours and then we would collapse at night
into a deep sleep only to do it all over again the next day. It was glorious.
This weekend I packed up my 3 boys and we went to Modesto.
We got to hang out with our good friends, the Beachlers.
And we got to hang out with some cousins.
My boys thought they were in heaven. There was golf cart riding in
the orchards with the Beachlers, trampoline jumping with a sprinkler
and impromptu driving lessons....a new law came down....
the city boys (Jack and Will) are no longer allowed to drive the golf cart.
One too many crashes.
There was a bonfire and home made ice cream with new friends.
The boys weren't in bed until 11:30.
Then there we went to Carver Road. We ate at the Chicken Barn...
(it tastes better than it sounds...the chicken is divine...the bbq sauce is like nectar)
We stayed the night with Uncle John and Aunt Neva and had waffles for breakfast.
And we met up with cousins at Cousin Alys's mom's pool. (Thank you, Glynnis!)
They swam to their hearts' content.
Cousins. Summer. Staying up late. Ice cream. Orchards. Freedom. Perfect.
When we were driving home Saturday night I asked the boys what their favorite part was.
It was quiet and then Jack said, "Everything." Will and Addie agreed.
Summer is here. And it started with cousins. It just doesn't get any better than that.