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Two letters today
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
6 November 2014
I don't know which is worse, being an only child, or becoming an only child in adulthood. If you lose your only sibling after you are an adult, you lose a whole piece of your history. If you never had a sibling to begin with, that history doesn't really exist, except with your parents.
Peach is my oldest, longest lasting friendship. We became friends when I was very little. There are pictures of us together at our grandparents' farm. I remember visiting her when she spent a year in boarding school in San Francisco.
There was a period when we were both young wives raising children when we had no contact whatsoever, but that ended one night when she and Bob came to pick up a statue that our uncle had made. The two of them stayed for dinner and it was, to quote William S. Gilbert, "like six hours at the seaside." We spoke in cousin-speak, remembering things long before either of us had met Bob or Walt, remembering idiosyncracies of other members of the family. It was the best night I had spent in a long time.
We stayed in touch after that and, of course, those Cousins Days really solidified that relationship. You realize that "family" is more than just your parents and siblings. Peach and I are family more than most of the rest of my blood relatives are "family."
What is "family"? It's more than DNA, more than blood lines, more than knowing you are all descdended from that bloody buddy of Robert the Bruce who wanted to make sure the guy they attempted to kill was really dead and went back to double check (from which comes the family motto on the family crest, "I make sure.")
With family you share your life. You aren't afraid to be vulnerable. You can talk about anything. You have a long, long history. You have "family speak" where you can say things like "Lucky Boy Pass" and know that it needs no explanation. You both were there. You both remember.
You laugh together, cry together, raise kids together, share secrets together, travel together, do stupid things together (mostly do stupid things together).
As Char and I sat at Fentons for lunch today the thing that we have known in like forever was blatantly clear. We were family. You aren't uncomfortable showing tears, asking awkward questions, remembering. You aren't embarrassed to order a gooey dessert.
The last time we saw each other was at lunch at Fentons a lifetime ago and we parted, promising to meet in Paris in two weeks. That never happened and now we are talking about services and ashes and memorials and eulogies and we are both letting the tears well up without embarrassment because that is your level of comfort with family.
Char has been my family for much longer than my sister was. We don't need DNA to prove that.
After we parted company, I went to the outlet mall to try to find shoes ... my least favorite thing to do, but Peach says I should bring boots. I didn't find boots but, miracle of miracles, I did find not one but TWO pairs of shoes that fit, so at least I have something other than Birkenstocks for the 20 degree weather.
Then I went to the Davis Art Center. Sculptor Heidi Beckebrede was replacing the "C" in the ceramic sign for "David's Place" outside, where kids wait to be picked up after their classes. The area was built with funds that were donated after David died.
She thought I might like to paint the "C" myself, so I joined her clay class and started painting the C.
Being the unartistic, unoriginal person that I am, my design was very simple -- but meaningful.
Not sure what "Miss Heidi" thought about it. She did point out where I'd skipped spots and made me go back and do those spots again. 71 and I still can't get it right!
A little girl sitting next to me -- about Bri's age -- asked me what I was coloring. I told her it was the letter "C." She thought about that for a minute and then asked "Are you going to color other letters?"
Photo of the Day
Another Fenton's delicacy
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