When I was ten years old, I was in the fifth grade at Mt Olive Elementary School.  I don’t have too many distinct memories of that year, but there are a couple of things that come to mind.  I have always loved to read books – Grant really reminds me of myself when I was his age – I always had my nose in a book of some sort and I was usually oblivious to anything around me when I was absorbed in the pages of a really great one.  One time I was on the school bus on the way to school, just reading away.  Our bus was different from the one that Grant and Carter go on today.  We had elementary, middle, AND high school kids on the same bus.  After it picked us up it went to our school first and dropped off the elementary school children, then drove several miles to the middle school and high school.  Well, I don’t remember which book I was reading, but I didn’t notice when the bus stopped at our school and I just kept on reading.  The next thing I knew, the bus was chugging along almost to the middle school!!  I was so embarrassed and a little scared because I had never been to the middle school before and I didn’t know what to do!  I got off the bus and went to the school office and they had to get one of the teachers to drive me back to the elementary school!  I think of this almost every time I have to say Grant’s name several times before he notices that I am even talking to him while he is reading! 

I’m not sure if this happened when I was ten or not, but another important part of all of our childhood was our dog, Raggs.  I am a little surprised looking back that Mimi was willing to get a dog considering that she is a bit of a neat freak and she had a full time job and four kids to take care of.  Our house must have been crazy enough without adding a dog that sheds to the mix!  But we must have worn her down, or Papa did!  I remember walking into the animal shelter and seeing all of these dogs in cages – I felt sorry for all of them that they didn’t have a home.  One dog in particular caught my eye – a medium sized grey, shaggy dog.  I had a book (of course!) called “Make Room for Rags” – probably from 1st or 2nd grade that I loved – it was about a family and a dog that they named Rags.  Well, the illustrations of the dog in this book looked exactly like this little dog in the shelter.  We brought her home, and all agreed that the best name she could have was Raggs.  She was such a wonderful dog that I can’t even write all of the things that made her so great.  She was very friendly and had a group of neighborhood dogs that she got together for morning walks with.  Unlike our neighborhood today, we could let her out and she would roam the woods and the neighborhood.  I think having Raggs was the first time I understood what “unconditional love” meant.  She loved all of us so much – I can still envision her tail wagging, full of excitement any time one of us walked into the room.  She was quite possibly the world’s greatest dog, and so important to our family that Mimi and Papa have her gravestone out behind their new house.  I think all of the cousins except for us have dogs, and as soon as Kendall loses some of her fear of animals we will hopefully have one added to our family!

Joe and I hope that you are all having a wonderful time at cousins camp!  It is very quiet here in Atlanta!