Although you couldn’t tell it by the comments (or lack thereof) that I’ve been leaving around the neighborhood this past week or so, I consider you folks my friends. Which is really odd because, although I have always had a solid core of good friendships over the years and I’m a friendly enough person, I’m not overly social. I don’t necessarily chat up strangers and I’m not great on the telephone; sometimes both of those activities feel like a busman’s holiday to me. And for me, the internet has never been a vehicle for socializing- I don’t do AOL or chat rooms and most of the people on my MSN messenger list are child clients who have grown up and gone off to college and we still keep in touch.
So if you had asked me when I started this journal of odds and ends last March that I would meet people who would truly become friends I would have scoffed. And yet.
I now know about 80 people, via this blog neighborhood, whom I like. I enjoy their writing; I enjoy hearing about their lives, for better and worse. Of that group there are more than two dozen who are my friends: good friends of the sort you share yourself with, who support you as you move through life’s events, friends I commiserate with and laugh with. And then I have a sort of inner circle and these are people I’ve come to truly care about. I suspect most bloggers have a group like this. These are the people you want to see, hear their voices, sit and share either a cup of tea, a glass of wine or a sip of Grey Goose. We share similar circumstances or we’re at the same stage of life or the same thing pokes us as funny.
I don’t understand this phenomenon all that well but there it is. So ask me if I understand a couple more degrees of separation that result in another friendship and I don’t- but so it goes.
I’m writing now from my parent’s small cottage in the Keweenaw Peninsula on Gratiot Lake. Most of you know them from previous posts. They are getting on and my mother has health issues that would normally result in nursing home care. But they stay here, at the edge of Lake Superior, very isolated and quite content. It is spectacularly beautiful here but they also get as much as 300 inches of lake effect snow each winter. For me to visit them, help care for them, is nothing short of a royal pain the ass- but they are not budging.
Bud, as I’ve written, is salt-of-the-earth good. He cares for my mother with love and dedication, He has a non-stop sharp wit. And, unlike me, he is very social. Here, where there are few opportunities for socializing. Thus, he chats up the UPS guy, the Schwans guy, and the check out lady at the IGA. He sings to the cats constantly, he sings to my mother, he talks to himself, he yells at the television and he mutters to the newspaper.
A few days ago I wrote a bit about him and said how much he loves to get phone calls. Right after that, I got a message, “So, what’s his number?” Sure enough, Hoss placed the call and Bud has a new friend. After the first one, Gene actually went out to get a speakerphone so they could hear each other. Gene called today and got caught up on the status of the deer population and Bud told him about the three wolves that live on the lake. We talked about old spaghetti westerns.
Gene and Bud are birds of a feather. For starters, they are both hard of hearing and as a result, half of every conversation is, “What? What’s that you say? Huh?” They also both like to Bush bash, they both like to swear and they both share an amazing curiosity about the world around them. Bud is fascinated with the notion that Gene used to be a newspaperman and a lobbyist. Gene is learning about the extremes of life in this tip of the U.P. of Michigan. One thing they really have in common is this: When they laugh you can’t help but laugh with them. Their laughter is so full of life, so deep, so hearty- I only pray I laugh as long and as hard.
A while back, Hoss provided his readers with sort of an annotated blogroll where he paid tribute to each and everyone of his daily reads. I would like to do that and I’m going to try. This undertaking may fall into the category of “The road to Hell is paved with good ones…” the way lots of mine are, but I’m going to try. I won’t do it consecutively or everyday or in order of favorites, but more as the mood strikes me. There are a fair number of people I hardly ever speak of or even add comments at their blogs so you might be surprised by what turns up. Sometimes, my tastes are a bit quirky.
FIRST ENTRY: Would you guess that Hoss is one of my favorites? Enough said.
You might not guess that the Florida Cracker at Pure Florida is up there. He has an incredibly interesting blog for someone like me. It’s almost always nature, it is always native to Florida, he has wonderful photos, great links and he seems like a really nice man who is working hard and raising his family in rural Florida.
SRP, or Roxanne, is a dear friend- and not just because her beautiful cat loves my cat. Roxanne has an almost grown daughter she is smitten with, just like me. She loves animals and has a fine photographic eye. She takes care of her parents and lives her faith. She is smart and I think there is so much I still need to learn about her.
Peace to you three, this Christmas season. The rest of you: I’m on my way.