Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.

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Friday, July 9, 2010


A question to ponder.  Who needs family and friends?   

I recall as I was going through the elementary grades and then the secondary school years that family was important.  Not only immediate family, but the extended family.  Friends were important, too.  Close friends as well as those not so close - acquaintances.  Family and friends helped form my attitudes and dreams, actually.  Whether they realize it or not, my sisters helped influence the path I took, for one reason or another.  It's all their fault.  ha ha

Seriously though, my father was very influential in my life, eventhough we went at it over "boys" and dating.  But aside from that, I heard what he said, I watched his way of interfacing with friends and family, his perception of the world around him, with his fellow workers and bosses, his church.  He had a gentle way of dealing with people ... except during my desire to date when I was a teenager ... that totally drew him into a different realm of action.  Took him outside himself.  But as I made it past the teen years and into the young adult years, marriage and children - whichever came first - and all that followed, including and regardless of heartbreak and tragedies, in later years he eventually became my confidant, the one I went to for advice. 

My mother was fun, daddy was more serious.  Mother was artistic and talented, moreso than we ever knew.  Mother was of the old school, stayed in Daddy's shadow mostly.  But once in a while she'd step out of it and would let everyone know just what was what.   I smile when I think of those times.  She was a pistol! I see why daddy was attracted to her at the beginning.  I bet all 98 lbs of her was like holding a lit stick of dynamite during their young years.  But as she began having children and dealt with the stress of married life, her health deteriorated. Mother was easy to talk to.  She was never judgemental, but she was forthright and had an opinion about everything. And she was usually right after all was said and done.  She had an uncanny sense of any situation, even in her last years. 

I didn't start appreciating my parents till later in my life.   And it almost came too late.   Thank God, I realized how important they were to me when I did and was able to convey that to them.   Of course it was easier to focus on them then because my children were grown and my husbands were gone.  When we are raising our own families and have spouses we tend to forget about our parents and their needs, or ignore them, becoming caught up in our own situations. 

What has provoked these thoughts in me today is the uncanny closeness between my sister Martha and her married children.  They all have an unbelievable connection to one another.  Right on down to the grandchildren.  Martha had six children with Len, her husband.   He now has Parkinson's and Martha is under threat of more mini-strokes, she's had two.  They are both in their 60s.  But the connection with their offspring isn't because of their health issues, it has been there since day one. 

Martha and Len have always put their children first.  I remember thinking that they did too much for their kids.  Used to say to Martha that she should let them fend for themselves after they left the nest.  Martha would agree and then just turn around and do more for them.  That's the way it always was.  Now her kids have their own children.  Now the kids are doing for Martha and Len.  And it goes beyond that, the closeness between them is incredible.  The good feelings they have for one another.  I see it almost every day on Facebook ... yes, they communicate on Facebook.  And the fun they have with each other on Facebook, is unprecedented.  Their family interaction could easily be a popular reality show.  ha ha

There is ML, oldest daughter in her 40s, an absolutely beautiful housewife, I mean movie star beautiful - who suffered a head injury when a garbage truck didn't see her and dropped it's mechanical arms on her head, she's tiny, was next to the trash barrel.  Caused her to lose some of her ability to process, has memory loss, gets confused, has headaches.  But she has raised four beautiful children in spite of it.  Her husband C is a contractor.

There is A, in his 40s, a sweetheart of a guy, didn't progress past the age of 10, although has savant talents and is able to drive.  He's on medication to curb a violent streak and lives at home with Martha and Len. 

There is G, in her 40s, married to a contractor/musician.  Another beauty of great proportions, and a chip off her mother's block.  She and R have three children ... built their own lakeshore home and have a good life near the Pacific.  G. runs her hubby's construction office.  (I can imagine the men's reaction to the voluptuous, blond, blue-eyed G. when they enter the office the first time.) 

There is J, in his 40s, married to D, with two boys.  J has been active in the military and in private security service to his country his entire adult life.  And although he's in secret forces, he finds time to love his wife and children to the hilt. 

Then there is P, in his 40s, married to lovely M, have three children.  He's in medical real estate in Texas.  Another happy family.

Last is L, the youngest of the tribe. Is a cross between ML and G.  She is single after having a horrible abusive marriage, has two children, is a banker and lives with Martha and Len. 

Sooooooooooooo ... all kinds, all sorts.   And they're all A-1 in my book. 

And in answer to the question ... yes, we all need family! And if we're lucky enough to have close friends, all the better!

By the way, Martha and Len have been on a road trip since last month, spending a week with each of the four kids who live elsewhere.  They're having a ball!

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