I met my cousin Rosalind for the first time when I was eleven and she was just four. My parents has splurged on a transatlantic flight for me – at half price because I was under 12! – and I flew BOAC to London where I was met by my still very active grandmother. Grandma took great delight in showing me off to all the members of her vast family, including sisters in Bournemouth and the Lake District. She also took me around to my aunt and uncle’s place in London to meet them and their daughter, Rosalind. Ros was young and shy and I was never given time alone to develop any sort of relationship with her before I was whisked off to the next relative.

My mother and her sister were not what you would call close, so there wasn’t much of an effort to visit over the years. My aunt and uncle came to Canada once, with an older Ros in tow, and we visited England a couple of times, but never spent much time with family. In my late teens I went to England and tried to contact my Aunt’s family. I had just returned from France following a terrible accident that had left me both injured and virtually penniless. I called the number I had for my aunt and briefly explained my situation. She replied with, “Well I haven’t time for that now, I’m off shopping with Ros and hung up on me.” And that was that.

I made several attempts to contact my cousin over the years without success until Ros found me on Facebook and reached out to me some twelve years ago. What a delight it was to hear from her after all those years! She was teaching English at a private girl’s boarding in Benenden that looked like the setting for a Jane Austin novel. Benenden was the school home of Princess Anne, among many notable others. As wonderful as it was to talk to Ros about the joys and challenges of teaching English, it was an even greater delight to hear of her shared faith in Christ.

Ten years ago Pam and I spent three delightful weeks in England visiting all my family, from my niece Claire in the north to cousin Ros in the south. What a great joy that entire visit was! The upshot of that visit was that Ros agreed to fly to Canada to attend our daughter’s wedding. We arranged for her to stay with friends and she took part in all the pre- and post-wedding celebrations. We have remained in touch through emails and Facebook ever since.

However, because of the demands of our own jobs and families, we haven’t been able to visit England since Mom passed away. So it was with great joy that we made our first trip in our new-to-us car to Kent to see my cousin earlier this year. We have had two visits since, mostly to do a few repairs around her house. This Sunday we went down to Kent for a Sunday carvery at The Bull in Benenden. The food was great and afterwards we went back to her delightful little place in Tenterden for tea. We had a lovely visit and shared some gifts and some memories. How wonderful to reconnect to family at this time of year.