It is hard to sit and write about my family because there are no words that can describe fully how unique and special we are.
At best I can introduce you to the Cochran Family through a series of brief memories and stories.
"Katie-did-it! Would you be a dear and grab my pocketbook from the coat closet. And on your way will you grab the Murphy's Oil Soap and wash my baseboards."
This is my grandmother, Bernadine. She says things like pocketbook, davenport, and see you in the funny papers. She hands out half sticks of gum and those peanut butter chew candies in orange and black wrappers from Halloween... even though it's July. She would make ridiculous requests like it's no big deal. For example, cleaning her baseboards on the way to getting her purse...
She loved Jesus in a way no other person can. She coined the term "Catholic guilt". But when you did something worthy... she would tell you with pride, how you just sewed a rose on baby Jesus's blanket, and she would praise you like it was the best damn rose ever sewn on!
I have the best memories of my grandma. The best.
I would say that the only time my grandma ever stopped talking was to pray but she just did that out loud too. She had a way of just weaving it into conversation.
".... and I was at Meijer and there was this woman in front of me with a cart full, did you know that they have angel food cake on sale this week? Al! Go get Katie a coupon for some cake mix. Katie-did-it go buzz grandpa up from the basement. Jesus Mary and Joseph be with you on your way. Oh and will you run the vacuum for me. Bless your heart, blessed sacrificial heart of Jesus. Hail Mary full of grace...."
I never had a chance to tell her that I hated angel food cake but I did walk out with a coupon that was guaranteed to get me $1.50 cash back somehow...
Then there is Albert Cochran, my grandfather. I never really knew his voice until grandma died. I am not exaggerating when I say this is the World's Best Man... ever. I'm pretty sure he's like the top dog angel in heaven right now.
I've never heard him complain about anything. This man was always working his ass off. Anything that needed to be fixed or done he could do.
This man could find a bargain anywhere. It was almost a game for us. You could bring up any product in conversation and he would tell you three things:
1. what store had it on sale
2. who was offering triple coupons this week
3. EXACTLY how much you would be paying for it
Sometimes before going out with my friends I would tell them I had to stop buy Al's to pick up spaghetti sauce and 24 jars of pickles for my mom. For the longest time they thought it was a supermarket until one day we rolled up in front of my grandparent's house. This is where we would do a lot of our grocery shopping, in Al's pantry. It was always well stocked and if I had to guess NOTHING cost more than a dime in there.
At the young age of eight I had my first beer with my grandpa. We watched westerns and he would take a shot of Wild Turkey from a shot glass shaped like a cowboy boot. Then he would pour a little beer in it for me. I'd sit there and watch the tall tales of Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, and Rooster Cogburn while eating my cheese and pretzels.... and drinking my beer with a hint of whiskey.
We shot the gun in his basement then delivered Communion to the shut-ins, elderly, and sick who couldn't make it to Mass.
I've learned more from this man and he hardly ever said a word. His actions spoke volumes. I am so grateful that my husband had the chance to know him. To this day he says that Granpa Al is someone he really admires.
I miss my grandparents very much. They played a huge roll in my upbringing. They also produced my crazy aunts and mom.
If you knew my grandmother then it would be easy for you to picture my mom and her sisters. Did you know they had a brother? Probably not because he never got a word in.
My aunts are a ball of energy. When they are in the same room it's a phenomenon. Imagine if you will, four grown women having four different conversations with each other at the same time using large hand movements, expressive facial gestures, hitting, rapid jumping to signify hilarity, and finally either lay each other's heads in their laps or just fall down on the floor.
And this could be just from one conversation of say... going to the bank.
It's amazing and exhausting to watch.
It's a curse that is passed down through generations of Cochrans. I have no doubt my sisters and I will be crazy ass women replicating this same behavior. It's inevitable and cannot be stopped no matter how hard you try.
As a little girl I watched my grandma and her sisters act this way, listening to my mother and her sisters laugh and make fun of them. Now my sisters and I shake our heads at our mothers.
We are loud, opinionated, and love each other fiercely. Family is everything to us. We've had fall outs and drama. We are always on each other's side. We will discuss your faults and problems behind your back but love you all the same.
Because we all have our shit.
Everyone of us.
And we don't care because we are family and there is nothing more important in this world.
Except Jesus. He is always more important.
Two days a year we make sure we get together to celebrate our craziness and love.
1. The Cochran Family Fall Festival
2. The Cochran Girls Shopping Weekend.
These are coveted and important dates. A time to all get together so that we can remember every single childhood account from the aunts and create new stories to be told.
And to laugh... always to laugh.
I am so thankful for my family. My cousins are like siblings, my aunts like moms.
I love you all.
We drink wine together.
We will love on any baby we can get our hands on.
We hang out... mostly around food tables.
We are cousins.
Generations can't separate us.
We look like each other.
We act like each other.
We celebrate life every chance we get.
We are family.
We are Cochrans.
Al and Bernadine Cochran