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Robert A. Mills

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The Better Angels

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Blogs by Robert A. Mills

MY COUSIN DOUGIE
10/16/2010 5:33:32 AM
The only serious run-in I ever had with the law was in the ‘70s when the IRS audited me. This was due, I’m sure, to being named on Richard Nixon’s “Enemies’ List.” Once he resigned in disgrace, I was never bothered again, although the nuisance value eventually resulted in a total career change.

Chosen to be a candidate for Supervisor in the Town of Brighton, I wisely dropped out of the race when my claque assured me I’d win. Had I been elected, which I would have been, I would never have considered another child, nor would I have opted to move away from Western New York to metro Atlanta when my company fled the state to avoid exorbitant taxes.

Worse scenario, my wife would not have graduated from the American Intercontinental University, my daughter would never have graduated from the University of Georgia and met her future husband, and I would never have had the opportunity to retire from CCA Global Partners.

Funny how even the worst of circumstances can work out for the best.

But where was my cousin Dougie Grant when I needed him?

Douglas Grant, son of my Aunt Rosemary and her first husband, Bill Grant, would be about my age. I think he too was born in Ohio, during the Great Depression-—but we have not seen each other since we were toddlers.

The last I heard, Dougie was with the FBI (whether he was with them or being sought by them I’m not certain, but there is a rumor he married Miss Japan, circa 19??—-not that that has anything to do with anything.) When he retired from the Agency, I heard he became police chief someplace in the Midwest. Aunt Rosemary, after Bill Grant died (or was somehow removed from the picture) married a fellow from Alaska named Ice. Yes, he was from Alaska and that was his real name.

The whereabouts and disposition of all concerned are unknown to me today, and, all things considered, I should prefer to keep it that way.

I only bring it up because I recently thought of Dougie (is it spelled Dougie or Douggie or Dougy or how?) and wondered 1). is he still alive, and 2). if so, is he well and happy, or 3.) etc.?

To my knowledge, there is only one snapshot of him in existence, and it is in possession of my kid brother up in Spencerport, NY (come to think of it, Dougie is also my brother’s cousin, but it’s a safe bet Jack has never even thought of him, except as Rosemary’s baby.)

The black and white photo, probably taken with an ancient Kodak Brownie, shows Dougie standing beside the Baltimore & Ohio train tracks, which ran parallel to the 6th Street house where I was born (and maybe my cousin as well)—-and he is drinking from a garden hose.

Drinking from garden hoses, parental warnings notwithstanding, obviously had no ill effects on either of us (there is no concrete evidence that I ever joined him in this reckless activity, but it’s a safe assumption that I did.) Perhaps that is why Dougie grew up to become an officer of the law, if in fact he did—-grow up, I mean.

Dougie’s father, Bill Grant, was, as I recall, never a favorite of our maternal grandparents (or four of their five daughters, either.) Bill was a butcher, and during the GD he was gainfully employed at the A&P.

On Sundays he joined us on 6th Street and brought meat for dinner: hamburger for us and Porterhouse steaks for Rosemary and him. This did not sit well with my Anglo-Croatian grandparents. Their European heritage was never comfortable when Billy was around, which in those days was often.

Over the years, after we each drifted our separate ways, I rarely (if ever) heard from Rosemary, Bill or Dougie. In touch regularly (and living together under numerous roofs) with Grandma and Grandpa plus two of my four aunts, I learned about Rosemary and Mr. Ice, but I eventually lost track of Dougie.

I suppose he and Miss Japan had a bunch of Samurai warriors and grandkids along the way, but I know nothing of his life after the age of three (we would both have been three in 1934.)

Let’s have a contest and see how good a detective you are: if anyone can locate Douglas Grant and find out his e-mail address, please forward it to me. I will write to him and if your “find” truly is my cousin, you will be awarded 1st Prize of a Porterhouse steak. 2nd Prize will be 1/2 lb of ground beef.

By the way, in titling this piece, my brother wanted me to call it “Rosemary’s Baby.” I stayed with “My Cousin Dougie,” a similar but safer rip-off. “Rosemary’s Baby” might be more apropos, but I think somebody else grabbed it first.

Oh, well—-better to be safe than sorry—-come to think of it, that's a wonderful slogan for the Ultra Ribbed, Magnum XL, Warm Sensations.

Copyright©2010 by Robert A. Mills


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