Change in Plans

For my promised second June post I had been drafting a diatribe about eighteen-year-old killers and their enablers.  Then I learned that, on Sunday the 26th, my cousin Gerry had finally succumbed to the horrible bladder cancer that he'd fought for thirteen plus years. 

I felt a sadness akin to that which I experienced at the loss of my brother Ken a couple years ago.  While letting that feeling settle in, I began adding up the number of grandchildren my maternal grandparents had.  I came up with thirty-two in the clan at its peak.  Then I thought about how many of us remain standing.  I believe it's eighteen.  Of that group, I am the oldest male and my cousin Margie, a few years my senior, the oldest overall. 

Before the COVID pandemic hit, we tried to have a Mahnken Family Reunion at Gilbert Lake State Park, every August as I recall.  I don't remember how many there were.  I think I attended every one but I'm not sure.   Much of the surviving clan is still in New York State, many living in the towns and sometimes house they grew up in.  Others are spread across the continental US and their children even farther afield.  Even so there was always a pretty good showing at the event.  

Gerry, second from left, with some sibs.

Gerry was there every time I was.  With his ready wit and seriously groan-inducing puns, he helped make the day even more memorable.  I will miss him.

Until next time,



  1. Tom, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your cousin, Gerry. I’m sending lots of Love and Light to you and all of your family. 💖

  2. Gerry always made me laugh...his humor was very similar to his father's humor...very corny but funny...

  3. I felt that same sadness when I learned the news of Gerry's death. We have so many cousins but Gerry was always special. I miss him as much as I miss my 6 siblings who have all passed on. It would be nice to have the reunions again, but I do not see it in the near future if at all. Now that I am a full time RVer, I may be too far away to attend anyhow. Take good care of yourself. Love, Irene.

  4. Hey eT,
    That pretty much identifies me.
    This is a touching post—I can feel the love and laughter. My mom, Hazel’s, birthday was yesterday. She would’ve been 105 if still alive. It’s been almost five years since she died and I still miss her. We will gather in August for our family reunion, we missed 2020 & 21. All my sibs will be there: 4 sisters and my brother plus assorted nieces and nephews and kids. How many more times will we have together? Each one is precious. As is my friendship with you. Love, Dahl


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Comments are always from "anonymous". Often I can identify the author by the content of the comment, but that much cogitation makes my 80 year-old brain tired. Please help out an old man and identify yourself within the text of the comment. Thanks for the comments whether or not you ID yourself. Tom