Monday, September 15, 2008
Roots in West Texas
I moved away from Coahoma, Texas when I was 11. It is a small town in west Texas, population less than a thousand and probably much less when I lived there. My dad got a better job opportunity, so we started moving around through the rest of my adolescence. My parents and sister now live in central Texas, near Waco, an area I find no connection with at all. But Coahoma, with its sparseness, its sand and stones and plateaus, and its rattlesnakes and horny toads, still holds a place in my heart.
My mother is related to half the population of Coahoma, and she returns every summer for a reunion with all her many cousins and all their progeny. I have yet to attend one of these Reid Cousins Reunions, though I long to do so. Visiting hot Texas in the summertime is hard; people with MS suffer most in hot weather. But I have the cookbook they put together. I look at all the photos. I hear stories about music and food and camaraderie I wish I could participate in.
Not once but twice now these cousins have contributed scholarships to my education. Once when I was an undergrad, and once in graduate school. These modests sums mean so much to me, as I picture all these aunts and uncles, plus cousins I have never even met, taking up a collection to help and encourage us, distant kinfolk near and far, who are continuing our education. My name, the name of a middle-aged woman, comes up among all the youngsters who are embarking on their college careers. Yet I am Ritzy's daughter and considered a worthy cause. My education is a communal effort!