Behind the Scene
by Randy Limbird
Editor & Publisher, El Paso Scene
I grew up as the younger of two kids in a family of four, living far from my extended family in Arkansas. My El Paso-born wife Cindy, however, was the sixth of eight Ivy children, and lived close to cousins and a grandmother here.
Needless to say, my world of family vastly expanded 22 years ago when I married Cindy. My extended family keeps getting larger as nieces and nephews have grown up and have families of their own. We now have 16 grand-nieces and grand-nephews, all born since we were married (only one comes from the Limbird side; the other 15 all are on the Ivy family tree). Plus we have one granddaughter of our own and another grandchild expected in December. Meanwhile, we’ve lost all four of our parents, one of Cindy’s sisters and my only nephew.
Then there’s my “extended extended” family. Two of Cindy’s sisters married brothers from the May family, so all their kids are known as “double cousins,” sharing the same set of grandparents. The grandparents on the May side are still healthy. When George May celebrated his 100th birthday recently, nearly 75 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and spouses attended the reunion.
Cindy’s son Will is an only child, but he hardly felt like one. He grew up surrounded by cousins, including twins who are just three months younger than him and another who is one year older. Will and his family now live the farthest away of all his clan, in Stony Point, N.Y. But he also has acquired an extended family of his own. His wife’s family all lives in the New York-Philadelphia area, plus he lives and works at a retreat center as part of a resident inter-faith community. Will’s the farmer there, helping to grow food that goes into the cafeteria menu.
My side of the family also wound up in New York — my niece’s family is in Brooklyn and my sister moved there after her granddaughter was born.
I began reflecting on my interwoven networks of extended families the other day when Cindy and I drove town to Fort Stockton for an outdoor dance party being thrown by her nephew’s in-laws. Her nephew married into a big ranching family, and a few years ago they pulled up stakes in Colorado and moved to West Texas to grow hay and raise cattle.
Well over 200 people came from all over for what’s become an annual tradition at the ranch, complete with country music band and everyone dressed in jeans and boots.
The next day our nephew Anthony and his wife Lydia took us out on the ranch to check on their herd of Angus cattle. Many of the heifers were nursing newborns or were pregnant, so they packed their truck with high-grade hay to make sure the cattle had enough protein. The cows love the hay, so they came running when they heard the truck’s horn being honked. My nephew also looked for any missing calves, and found one that had managed to squeeze through a torn barbed-wire fence.
On the way home, I couldn’t help but think how much my extended family has enlarged my world, from my sister’s crowded Brooklyn neighborhood to our nephew’s remote West Texas ranch.
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If you want to expand your world a bit, come join me at 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 for our annual Hike Up Cristo Rey (see details on Page 5 or our ad on Page 32). We call this a “Hike Through Time” because we will talk about millions of years of geology plus five centuries of human history.
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