The Alfalfa Pyramid

by Brad Closson
alfalfa julieI didn’t have any sisters growing up.  Two brothers on either side of me, but no sisters.  My cousin Julie was the closest thing to a sister that I had.  She was the youngest in her family, so it was great for her to be the “older” sibling when she was around my brother Jeff and I.  She was three years older than I was, which means she was actually about 10 years older in maturity most of the time.  She was smart and sassy.  She could be very sarcastic yet hilariously funny.  She and I spent a lot of time playing together, and fighting each other.  I don’t think I ever won, even once.  She was strong enough to whip me in wrestling and sly enough to make me cry with words.  (Scott had his hands full.)
Once she was in college and I was in High School, our relationship smoothed out.  We both became young adults, so we didn’t need to fight with each other anymore.  (Though an argument here and there was still in play.)  Julie was a beautiful smart woman.  I wish we would have had more time together as adults.  Goodness knows, I could have used more sisterly advice and mentoring.
My favorite memory was the alfalfa pyramid that my Dad made for all of us one year.  We had the best time climbing on it and jumping off into a few broken bales.  It is one of my favorite pictures and memories of my whole childhood with Scott and Julie.

Summer Magic

by Cal Closson
Julie was my first cousin and was always full of life. I feel like I was as close to her as a cousin can be, particularly as we both entered adulthood. But we had always been close – our mom’s are twins and as children, my two younger brothers and I couldn’t wait to see Scott and Julie because there were always adventures in the making. Summers were magical growing up in the 60s and 70s, but they were more so whenever Scott and Julie were in town. On more than one occasion, we were surprised early on a summer morning by the arrival of the Daniels from California. Coming from a family of boys, I envied Scott having a sister and as I got older, Julie was a close to being a sister as I would ever know. We were only a year apart and were experiencing many of the same things at the same times as we grew up. Our mothers are passionate and emotional women, and Julie’s Dad Ron is as well. If you knew Julie, you know she carried that passion inside her and showed it in everything she did – good and sometimes, not so good! Julie was often the only girl surrounded by boys – her brother and cousins, and never, ever found that a problem. She often would take us all on and her passion, and yes, her temper, usually could outweigh the rest of us put together. She was never too “girly” not to mix it up with us, including playing army, swimming at the pool, hide and seek, tag, building forts, wrestling matches – whatever the boys were doing, she was up for it. She didn’t do anything halfway and that drew each of us to her.
Julie was fun loving, affectionate, cute as a girl and beautiful as a woman. She had a mischievous nature at times, and a look and a smile that told you that she knew something you didn’t. I learned a lot about girls and women through my friendship with her through the years and because we became close as young adults. In my college years and before I was married, we had many long talks by phone – often about our relationships, heartaches and heartbreaks, loneliness, and the fear of the unknown on what we should do with our lives as adults. A relationship of any kind wasn’t easy or simple with Julie – she gave her all, and didn’t always get it in return. A common character trait that she and I share is our investment in others – friendships or love relationships – that weren’t always returned in kind… and dealing with the hurt and disappointment that sometimes would cause.
I miss Julie. I miss the woman she had become… and mostly the friendship and relationship we could have shared these past 33 years. In the last couple years of her life she seemed happier than ever and we had become even closer. In the midst of that… she lost her life – and the love of her life, Kevin, lost his life as well. I thank God that I was with the two of them two weeks before their accident, got to meet Kevin, and can remember Julie as happy and beautiful as I’d ever seen her. Julie’s brother Scott is truly my brother and we are a close as brothers can be. I know that if Julie were here, she and her family would be a big part of the lives of me and mine.