My cousin Craig (standing in the foreground in the picture to the left) and I grew up in the same small town in Northern Ontario -- His house wasn't more than a 10 minute drive from mine and almost around the corner from the house of one of my best friends' where I spent a lot of time as a young teen. Yet despite the fact that he's just a couple of years older than I, we didn't see each other for more than half a dozen times in our lives, mostly at family weddings and funerals. I watched my cousin Craig grow up on the pictures on my Grandparent's wall in their home. I'm pretty sure that's exactly how he saw me grow older too.
Thanks to the social networking group Facebook, Craig and I have gotten back into contact. And, when I was in Vancouver for a business meeting just a few days ago, I also scheduled a book signing in the evening, taking advantage of the Halloween season to try to sell a few more books. It was when I was creating the Facebook event listing for my book signing that I noticed, hey, my cousin lives in Vancouver - I should send him an invite too.
Little did I know that my cousin was a voracious reader -- that, of course, was just one of the things I found out we had in common when he met me at the book signing and we went out for beer and wings and some great conversation. While it was only a couple of hours that we spent catching up and trading tales (working in the television and film industry as well as playing bass in a band, he has some very interesting stories) I quite enjoyed myself and kept asking how it was that I never knew how cool my cousin was when I was growing up. More evidence, I suppose, of how youth is wasted on the young.
I can easily say that the highlight of my first trip to the West coast of Canada would have to be meeting up with my cousin and enjoying a couple of beers with him. And here's hoping we can do it again before another 40 years pass.