Brotherless writer eyed cousins at Christmas

Christmas, 1981.

At the time, my family and I lived in Alvin, Texas. Once school let out for the holidays, we packed and drove to Bonaire, Ga. (about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta), to spend the Christmas holiday with my Aunt Margaret (Mom’s older sister), Uncle Gene and four of my five Burris cousins. Greg, if memory serves correctly, had recently been commissioned as an Air Force officer and was stationed overseas.

It was ecstatic to be around them since I had no brothers. I got to spend the holidays with Brad, Jeff, Doug and Randy. They were almost like uncles, since, as the youngest grandchild, I was nearly nine at the time and all of them were adults.

A few memories I have:

Don’t mess with Doug

In the summer of 1980, when we lived in Colby, Kans., Aunt Margaret came by with Uncle Gene and their sons for a visit. My sisters, Doug, Randy and I went to a local pool.

Doug, always the joker, threw me into the deep end without bothering to find out that I couldn’t swim yet. For me, it was a frightening experience and led to a morbid fear of opening my eyes underwater.

So, when I saw Doug this time at Christmas, I got revenge and pinched him on the arm.

Doug, who had wrestled in high school and had competed at or near the state level, proceeded to pin me down and tickle me.

I was laughing too hard to realize my attempt at revenge had crashed and burned.

Doug is rumored to have been the chief instigator of jokes, according to Greg, yet Doug and the others say the same about Greg. Hmmm…

Randy yodels

As we watched “The Price is Right,” one of the games played was Cliffhangers. You know: if you guess the wrong price, the German man will yodel as he climbs a mountain. If he reaches the top and falls over, you lose. Back when Bob Barker hosted it, when someone lost he’d react with “Oh, the humanity!” horror.

Randy yodeled along with him and made all of us laugh. He kept yodeling around the house, even after the show was over. I’m sure to some it would get old, but the way he did it, it was still hilarious. It’s as if Randy had a gift for comedy.

Ironically, as I got to know Randy a little better when I got older, I could see he was probably the most serious of the Burris brothers. But even despite that, he was very capable of keeping people in stitches. He died in 2001, and I think it’s safe to say my family and I miss him every day.

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