Angela with cousin Jason
My cousins invited me to a “cousin reunion” in North Dakota this summer, which is a bit of a misnomer, since most of us have never met. My parents moved away from the flat, open terrain of the Dakotas when we were very young, so we had little opportunity to get to know the kids of their siblings. One of our cousins passed away recently (much too young), which jarred us into the realization that life is short, and if we wanted to get to know each other at all, the time was now or never.
It’s been about 30 years since we have seen one another, and we’ve never all been together at one time. So this could either be super-cool and interesting, or it could be really… well, boring. Depending on how we approach it, there is obvious potential for stilted conversation and a dearth of common interests. I suspect there is a broad range of personalities, from the most conservative, religious, small-town, never-had-a-drink types to the big-city, well-traveled, “where’s the tequila?” types. The only common link is some DNA and a collection of memories about Pingree, a town of 62 residents. Got that? 62. The town is tiny.
One of the cousins volunteered to make a book with all of our stories, and for me I’m sure this will be something of a cheat sheet, so that I know who is who and how to make basic conversation with them. Her instructions to each of us were pretty straightforward-tell us what you’ve been up to for the last 30 years. As I wrote, I realized it is tricky to consolidate the last 3 decades of your life into a blurb, capturing the pertinent and interesting, and weeding out the superflous or scandalous. This is what I came up with. Enjoy.
Angela graduated high school in ‘84 and insisted on stretching out her college experience for the next decade, interspersing her class time with working. In the end, she never did get a degree, but she did get some cool stories and significant student loan debt. Her work performance fared a little better, and usually came down to small promotions for hanging in the longest and working the hardest. She began managing people at a young age (23), and has worked in various industries from hospitality to retail to loading trucks. Throughout it all, the ultimate lesson is that leading people is universal, whether you are selling books, cars or cosmetics. It is a privilege to serve others, finding ways to make their lives just a little easier.
Personally, Angela clung like a scared kitten to the single life, refusing to let go and get married until she was sure that the time and person was right. The time was 2011, the age was 45, and the person was Kevin Maskey. Angela had known Kevin from work and was always impressed with his humor, integrity, calm disposition and work ethic. When she heard he was getting a divorce, she chased him down like a ninja until he finally relented and went out with her. They dated for 3 years before getting engaged, and the wedding was an intimate affair of 25 people at a wine resort. Angela was doubly blessed because in addition to finding someone amazing like Kevin, she was also able to add “step-parent” to her resume. Kevin’s son Forrest is a super-cool and outgoing young man, funny like his dad, and very smart. He will graduate from high school next year.
In addition to working as Public Relations Manager for Jim Hudson Lexus, Angela volunteers for groups like Leadership Augusta and Symphony Orchestra Augusta. Over the past 10 years, volunteering has become a passion for her, and she coordinates a website and social media campaign called “Volunteer Augusta”, encouraging others to get involved in the community. A book club, Toastmasters group, hang-time with family and voracious reading of celebrity gossip usurps the rest of her free time.
Angela’s goals for the rest of her life include enjoying the aforementioned activities as much as possible, as well as finding inner peace, learning to live in the moment, and overcoming her violent fear of public speaking. Anyone with an unusual curiosity to learn more (or just a lot of free time on their hands) is encouraged to check out her blog, which is currently only followed by 12 people, 9 of whom are relatives.
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