Visits with Doug’s kin in Music City


I have two cousins who live near Nashville with their families. They don’t know each other, though.

My cousin Tania (technically, my first cousin-once removed, on my father’s side) and her husband Mike live in Franklin with their four kids and three dogs. The day before we arrived was, they allege, simply another typical one in the household, encompassing one broken arm (minor), one early pick up from pre-school for insubordination, and one altercation between dogs that required a trip to the vet for stitches. All in a day’s work! And all just in time for the arrival of these oddball relatives from out of town.

Rodger, at 10, is planning a career as a pro basketball player, for which he will resume training as soon as the cast comes off (three weeks). Two years younger, brother Roland is already developing plans to handle world finance. At 3, Dagny is showing determination and independence not unlike her literary namesake, finding her voice and I think preparing to be the President one day (provided the media of the time do not obtain access to her preschool records). Victor has been working diligently within the family for 11 months now and is currently figuring out how to use his legs to his best advantage.

We really enjoyed getting some hangout time with these kids, and a couple of long walks in the country with the whole family. The kids really enjoyed creating Camp Grant under the RV awning in the driveway. Franklin TN

My cousin Paul (the son of my mother’s sister – a simple and straightforward first cousin) and his wife Lisa live in Nashville, with their daughter Ivy, rabbit Panda, cat Weezy, and five unnamed chickens (just like in Missouri). As musicians (Paul Jefferson, Lisa BrokopThe Jeffersons), they both travel quite a bit between numerous projects, and we were fortunate to find some time when they both were home and available for a quick visit while we were in the area. We weren’t able to swing even a full day, but it was well worth the effort. Ivy, my first cousin once removed who turned 7 years old in August, is a delightfully energetic artist whom we last met two years ago. We’re always awed watching where her creativity leads her, whether her chosen medium is drawing, sculpture, painting, music, tumbling, dance, poetry – or pumpkin cookie houses!

On the morning that we were leaving, after Paul departed for work, Ivy and her friend Harper had themselves a demonstration tour of the RV. Having discovered the entertainment system, Ivy popped one of her dad’s CDs in the player and the following conversation between friends ensued:

Ivy (points to CD cover): That is my dad.
Harper: Your dad’s picture is on a CD?
Ivy: Yeah.
Harper: Your dad knows the band?
Ivy: My dad is singing!
Harper: Wait. (Mutes the stereo, sits up straight and looks Ivy in the eye)  Is this conversation real?

Yes, it is! Nashville TN

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