Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Best List Part V

Meetings, greetings, and reunions--there were happy times for me in 2009. With another holiday season just past, I'm still thinking about the greetings from friends I don't see very often--some not for years and years. I know Christmas letters sometimes get a bad rap, and indeed some can be kind of silly. But I love the ones with pictures of kids, grandkids, and yes, cats and dogs. And even if folks are in my life on a fairly regular basis, I like to get that photo taken on the Colorado summer vacation or the hiking trip in the mountains with everybody all smiles. "Gee, I wish I were there," I often say to myself.

Every New Year's Eve day, our family gets together with dear friends. It's been a tradition that has gone on for many years. My friend Dottie was one of the first people to welcome our son to the world, flowers in hand and a broad smile. Her son was one of our boy's first baby sitters.
We've got a lot of history going--and we just enjoyed a lunch launching a new year. Eyes are weaker, bones a little creaky, but our hearts are still young and happy. Dottie's husband was a career naval officer and he and my husband, a navy man too, just revel in remembering the time they spent together in the service. It's a meeting I adored this year and consider it a blessing, too.

Just before Thanksgiving, I had two wonderful reunions. I met a former boss for lunch in a restaurant in Iowa where a charming chap gently played some old favorite songs on the piano in the window. We hadn't had such a meeting in a long time, and while short, it was very pleasant, indeed. I told stories he said he didn't believe: "Why that never happened, Nancy," he exclaimed over a hilarious incident when he had to be boss. It also amazes me what one person remembers about a relationship--and the other doesn't.

"My Mike is getting married in April and he wants you to come," said the voice on the phone. Mike, getting married? These things creep up on us don't they? Well, I know that this young man has just spent several tours in Iraq and is no longer the lad who played with my son's saxophone when he visited. His mom worked in my department at Better Homes and was always special. We have kept up with each other--but several years have gone by since we'd spent time together. Thanks to Mike, we made a point of it and had a long lunch at our dining table. ("You still have these blue sofas," Col remarked, as if it was a comfort to her.) Again, 2009 had this reunion in store for me--and there's a wedding to look forward to while I remember his mother's as if it were yesterday.

This is the last of my Best Lists. I hope you keep up the chatter on this subject...we'd all enjoy knowing the things that bring good cheer every year.


  1. I have so enjoyed you best list journal postings and have appreciated that they have nudged me a little to think back on my year in a positive way.

    Late last spring an email was forwarded to me by a cousin linking me to one of our second cousins. Once removed, twice? I can never remember the order, but, we each had a parent who was a first cousin and shared some time together growing up. Suddenly, others became part of the mix and we had sort of an online family reunion with a frenzy of "do you remember" and "who was ???" and "what village did our grandfathers come from?". It was absolutely delightful and fun and came at a time I think most of us needed to reach out. One of the good things of technology.

    There were other phone calls, chance meetings, etc., but this one was of particular joy.

    Isn't it interesting how some people come into and out of our lives when we least expect it?

  2. Once again Nancy, I sit here with a smile on my face, thinking about old friends I cherish, and brand spanking new friends we made on New Years Eve. It is kind of like the feeling of having a fuzzy teddy bear for the soul.

    We are blessed with a circle of precious friends of five and a half couples. Together we have amassed over 280 years of marriage. Sadly the half comes from losing one mate this last year, but our we are as closely bound together as any family. We share millions of laughs, births of our children,their marriages, grandchildren, and perhaps hundreds of potlucks, bonfires, and memories.

    Shortly before Christmas we all sat around our table, laughing as usual, but there was a spirit of pure bliss in our friendship. The table sparkled, the silver gleamed in the candlelight, and even though David wasn't with us, we felt his presence. When I was blowing out the last candle, I realized what a gift we all had been given--friends who loved and accepted each other unconditionally.

    This summer we met a talented performer on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. She was a wonderful and funny singer who could light up the room. She wasn't a "Nashville star" as she told us. She was performing at the resort where we stayed and it was one of those friendships that just clicked. She invited us to come for New Year's Eve. When she followed up with a Christmas card and another invitation, we couldn't refuse. We didn't realize that we would meet some really great new friends from Florida, Kentucky, and North Carolina. After two days we all decided we would keep in touch and made plans for next year. Meeting new friends just gives that extra spark to our lives.

    How blessed we all are to experience special times with friends and to open our eyes to the beauty around us. Jean

  3. I love your reminder about reunions and connections with people. It seems as though people do not connect with other humans as much anymore. I had a reunion this year. I found the younger sister of my beloved grandmother was still living! This was a very large family with far flung relatives and this aunt was quite a bit younger. A Facebook connection and a few phone calls netted my sister and I a reunion at my aunt's son's house.

    As we spoke with Aunt Laura, we saw my grandmother's face again and heard her voice. It reminded me of the scene in "Peggy Sue Got Married" when Kathleen Turner who has gone back in time picks up the phone to hear her long departed grandmother's voice on the line. "Grandma?", she asks, "Is that really you?" The scene always melted my heart!

    I left that visit with a hand written recipe card for a Christmas dessert I long remembered but didn't know what it was called. Of course, Aunt Laura's daughter in law had to write it and interpret the amount of flour and sugar based on Aunt Laura's cupped hands. So dear! We also got invited to Aunt Laura's 95th birthday next month in Boston and we simply cannot wait. Connections with friends, loved ones, and long departed grandmothers make life worth living!


  4. I loved your stories of reunions. How special they are with the history and stories. I have often thought that I didn't meet my half sister until about 15 years ago and when I look at cards for sisters most are not appropriate because we didn't have that sister history. So I learn to treasure the history from the past 15 years. Now my aunt will soon be 90 years old and I have the 90 years to treasure with her. How precious each memory is.

  5. My own reunions in 2009 have been less with people than with dreams and ideas. That is, I've made a decision to find ways to keep in touch with my genuine self. I've jettisoned some of the new, and pulled out the old from storage trunks and bins, with ideas as well as possessions.