MENTAL NOTE

"Though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run."
Blue, resist the urge to use facebook. You can do it. Good luck.
Cats and dogs can be friends. So can cowboys and indians. So can we.
Why try to be the best when there's no hierarchy in heaven?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thanks for Giving Me So Much

It's a sobering thought that, twenty years from now, half my family will have died from old age. I realize that now more than ever. I can feel it. I can sense it. I can tell when I look in the mirror and see their once younger faces in mine. I am what you call a slow learner, someone who likes to scour the dessert by sticking his head in the sand in search of a non-existent flower. Twenty years, give or take, and then what?

I grew up in a big family. Wherever I looked as a kid, there were people of all ages enjoying themselves. There was so much noise at birthday parties and during the holidays you'd think we owned the city and then some, too. Smelly old farts sitting on a couch my Momma insisted were not her blood; aunts and uncles dancing who, in hindsight, were still pretty young and vital (much younger than I am writing all of this), and truckloads of happy kids a couple of years my senior ─ the generation I belong to. Somehow I thought this overcrowded world of mine would never change, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

My parents got a divorce in the mid-seventies, a couple of years down the line my mother's father died and the whole family came apart pretty quickly. Before any of us could say, "Cheese!", the sounds of fun and laughter were reduced to the occasional flashes in my mind that are still faintly recognizable yet always slipping further away. It's unbelievable how little we see coming until the unexpected is staring you in the face like a lion ready to bite your head off. We are supposed to be a smart species, but I'm slightly begging to differ. Well, make that a whole lot, but what can you do about it, right? Call your cousin Vinny to solve the problem? I don't even have a cousin Vinny.

As I sit here reminiscing, I'm painfully aware of the fact that I don't have children ─ not even imaginary ones ─ and for some unfathomable reason, the majority of my cousins are pretty much the same. Not only don't they have children, most of them don't even have a husband or a wife. It's the damnedest thing. At least I have my Bollywood Bride to keep me company (knock on wood, no not that wood). Yes, and my couch has, for some time now, been perpetually owned by Mongo the Fatcat and his skinny sister, Pebbles, the wannabe opera singer slash Headache Inducer: Part I.

Instead of feeling sorry for my future lone-ass self, I should be grateful my Mom is still among us, and doing a pretty good job at that. I should be grateful her elder sister and her elder sister's husband, Uncle Bob, still haven't perfected the art of fighting, though they're well on their way. Because I'm always exhausted and their incessant quibbles tend to give me tremendous headaches, I have sort of neglected them a bit by not visiting their place as frequently as I used to. Maybe I should reconsider now that they're still among the living ─ loud and clear and very much alive. I'm grateful for everything they've done for me through the years (discounting the headaches). I know they are looking forward to the holidays. I know I am too.

Yesterday, a private student of mine ─ a man almost my age ─ said it was time for him to devote more of his time to his family and to focus much less on his career. His first child had just been born and that life-altering event had made him want to reshuffle his deck of priorities. He said, "I need to cherish every moment while I'm still here." I sighed and smiled. That line sure struck a chord with me. I need to start separating work from leisure even more... I need to spend more time with my family...

Now is as good a time as ever.

* * *


109 comments:

  1. My parents are still alive, but I know that time with them is limited. Sucks to get older and watch loved ones get older.
    Most of my family (fortunately small) has children but we don't. No regrets. I have a favorite nephew who is like a good friend and he will benefit when we pass. Won't buy him a mansion, but hey, I did the best I could.
    Hope you spend Sunday with your wife, Blue.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, Alex. Angie is still asleep but it's gonna be a fun day. Have a great Sunday, too.

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  2. Yeah, grab every moment you can, and cherish even the less-than-perfect ones. Well, some of them, anyway. :)

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  3. My best advice, while they are still living, ask all and any questions you might want of your mom, her growing up days, etc., etc., etc., and if she has pictures of family members, make sure you know who are they are or friends of theirs, etc. Believe you me, when they pass (and sadly they will pass) there will be questions that pop up and there will be no one there that will have the answers and sadly you will want to know the answers. I keep asking myself these days "where did the time go?" Treasure each day with those that are still there, especially those you deeply truly love and enjoy spending time with.

    betty

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    1. Will do, betty. There are many things I still want to ask my Granny. Unfortunately, she was gone in a flash and now it's too late.

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  4. This is "old people" talk, remember those who can't......

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  5. I'm happy you had so many people around you as a Baby Blue! I always say it is of absolute importance for a kid to grow up surrounded with tons of people. I know, because I grew up in a totally opposite situation, meaning like a child lost in the woods.

    Wait whaaaaat? Pebbles? Where did she suddenly come from now??? I'm shocked! Shouldn't you report any changes in your household to the dezzythorities?

    Our tennis player Novak Djokovic has just lost number one place and when asked why, he said he now has different priorities in his life as a father of a young son.

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    1. What kind of father are you if you've never mentioned her? :)

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    2. reminds me that I have never taken pictures of my cats... guess I'm not a catlady unlike some here :P

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  6. My dad is still around but he's 83 so I know he won't be around for a lot longer. We're all getting up there in years or we have bad health so I know my family won't always be around.

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  7. Got the two felines at my sea
    And that is all with me
    Can count the family members still alive on one hand
    Had a die off spree years ago at our land
    5 dropped like flies
    Other distant relatives I'd rather pelt in the face with pies
    We chopped those morons, literally for some, from the tree
    I wouldn't shed a tear if they all drown in the sea
    Or ended up withe Maryann and the Skipper
    Maybe some food for Flipper?
    Got me on a roll now
    But to career I wouldn't even raise an eyebrow
    That guy was right indeed
    For in the end, you are just a number to any career feed
    Damn all that crap
    Although it is no fun being a broke chap
    Damned if you do, damned if you don't
    Rant any further I won't

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    1. Two felines at your Pat Hatt sea
      One and two in the place to be
      No space left for um Scooby Dooweee
      No room either, no one two three
      No relatives aplenty at you spot
      Just a handful is all you've got
      A die off spree is depressing all right
      I'd rather wear skinny jeans at my sight
      Morons can eat a fly
      Wouldn't make me cry
      Poor Flipper would get all sick
      I think he'd rather sit on a stick
      Like a toad on the road
      Or a snake in a lake
      Rant you did and a great job too
      Now, where did you hide that blue suede shoe?

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    2. No space at all
      At our new err old hall
      Just us three
      And plenty more to see
      But they are outside the room
      The cat wishes them doom
      Poor Flipper would get sick
      Skinny jeans get a pick?
      I guess some choices are better
      Maybe you need to send Bora Bora a "Take me in" letter

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    3. No space
      But going strong at a steady pace
      Bora mailmen mocking me
      At their Bora sea
      But I'll find a way
      To reach that Bora shore one fine day

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    4. Hopefully so
      With Angie in tow

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    5. No cold
      Or snow to take hold
      That's a win
      And not sin

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  8. I don't see any of my family, bar one. Long story.
    But I'm well aware of my own mortality and those I love. Ugh.

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    1. Sorry to hear you're mortal too. I'm so jealous of future generations. They'll be studying history saying, "Yeah back then people still died of old age. How primitive, right?"

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    2. I think, perhaps, that mortality is a good thing ... what with Donald Trump the President Elect of the USA. Enough said.

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    3. A little bird told me you're not a fan :)

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    4. None of the above! Now, excuse me while I go and take a beauty nap.

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    5. did she just call you a 'good sir'? 'Sir' means cheese in Serbian, you know....

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    6. yep, you're either stinky or you go well with wine...

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  9. My dad was an only child and my mom was one of eight, so I've seen both sides.

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  10. Ha, your story sounds familiar--except for the large family part. I had a teeny tiny family and most are gone. I never knew my grandparents. And neither my brother nor I had children too. "Cherish every moment." That's something I've been hit with hard this year. It's so important not to let time slip by without living a little, because you don't know when everything will come crashing down. Hug.

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    1. I guess we have a lot in common, Lynda. Except that you are an excellent writer and I am not so much. Smile.

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  11. I've been told I need to heed that very same advice. Let me know how you plan to do that or if you even choose to go in that direction

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  12. Take time to smell the flowers along the way. :)

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  13. In 20 years I'll be near enough to old age WAH!!!!!!!! I'm trying to spend more time with those I love rather than those I'm obliged to spend time with.

    I don't have any kids either - more than happy to be the mad aunt/god mother to a few. Very happy with my 4 legged babies!

    Cherish the things & people you love - the ones that bring sunshine into your heart. xo

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    1. Twenty years... Think about it. That's nothing. I bet you'll still be in excellent shape.

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    2. I sure hope so Blue. I hope you are in better shape too. X

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  14. Wait, your immediate family will mostly be dead in 20 years or your extended family? Either way, are you planning on murdering them? Are your cousins suicidal? What is up with the mortality rate in your family?!?
    Given the current climate change, however, you could be safe in saying that 3/4 of your family is going to be done-zo within 15 years. But what do I know, I'm just an optimist.
    The student you reference echoes what I feel after my certainly-doomed child was born. Oh how I want to devote myself to baby-raising but finances are required for living. Work, shmerk, I want to raise a baby, but unfortunately that requires cash.

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    1. My Mom's generation. No plans, no, but some of my cousins may have me want to entertain the notion, though. May. Thanks for making me feel great again. Your unrelenting optimism is one of a kind, all right. As for my student... I knew that one would strike a chord with you. Money? Don't you know that money doesn't make you happy? Quite a few pundits have been trying to make me see the light in that respect. Let me recap: money doesn't make a Pickleope happy. Except when you want to raise a baby 24/7.

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  15. It is that time of year when we reflect on the river of life. Wondering about the journey as we paddle that canoe . Yes, spending time with family is important if you truly enjoy their company, but if you are doing it out of obligation you will not enjoy this so called "family time". the important thing is to be with those that bring love into your life. Enjoy the moments and always keep that blue rose in sight , it's waiting for you to touch, feel and smell it is elusive because you must discover the beauty of yourself first and the "true" desires of your heart, along the shoreline a dream awakens, but what do I know I am a fool!

    Much love always!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. It's not a very spacious canoe and it does rock a whole lot (or could it be my brain playing tricks on me?) but at least it isn't sinking yet, so I'm not complaining. Life's good (back pain included haha). So, yes, I'll keep that blue rose sight...

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    2. How was your thanksgiving Blue? Did you have a wonderful day, hopefully you didn't eat too much turkey? Gobble, gobble speaking of which I saw a bunch of turkeys on the side of the inter-state the other day, I guess they survived another year.

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    3. I had a wonderful day. Healthwise too. Yes, those turkeys got away, all right.

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  16. It's interesting how aging impacts our prospective of the world around us. In 20 years your relatives will potentially be dead and in 20 years potentially I will be dead. Maybe not. I remain hopeful that the expected longevity tables are aiming low. There is some solace in keeping one's head buried in the sand.

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  17. I'm having that realization this year for different reasons. My mom's family has always had big Thanksgiving celebrations - everyone invited, and friends, and in-laws. We usually have to add tables onto the end of tables to fit everyone. In the last five years, fewer and fewer cousins have come because we all have in-laws and children and other things going on in our lives. This year, for the very first time in my life, I will cook a turkey at my house for my small family and my parents. We'll get together with my in-laws on Saturday for an 18 person dinner, but even there, we'll be missing a few people. It's tough to see the changes happening, as we age and grow further apart. And yet, I'm glad for all the amazing, giant Thanksgiving feasts, and the Christmas Eve gatherings we used to have (those stopped after one of my Aunts passed away).
    I didn't mean to over-comment, but your post struck a chord with me.

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    1. There no such thing as overcommenting. I appreciate you taking the time to write a substantial comment, Tyrean. Thanks for sharing that. I couldn't agree more. It's tough, all right.

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  18. I still see my parents once a week, just because I want to say I spent as much time with them as I could (plus they're only 30 minutes away from me). It's the perfect balance. Any less than that, and I feel guilty; any more than that, and I remember why I couldn't wait to get out of their house.

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    1. I nearly fell off my chair laughing. Was that inappropriate? :D

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  19. Mmm. I'm with you there. I come from a big family: 8 kids. Dad and my second oldest brother passed away within a year of each other when I was around 25, and I tell you, nothing makes you evaluate life more than losing people you care about at a young age. I may not be the best at it, but family is THE truly joy in this life. I try to spend my time and energy on them. They're the thing I love most in the whole world, and it's going to kill me when my oldest leaves home in just a couple years. Time passes so quickly. We really do have to treasure our loved ones while we have them, eh?

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    1. We sure do, Chrystal. Eight kids... Is that right? Time's as cruel as snow in spring. When you're a kid, it pretends it gonna stay with you forever. When you're in your twenties, you know it's there but you're too busy going to the gym and be your own person to care. When you're in your thirties, it's all about getting a better job, a better house and kids. It's when you turn 40 that time decides to show its pretty face and you start to realize - for real (not theoretically like when you're 30) - that time is not on your side. Your blindness is finally wearing off and you come to notice your youthful foolishness and the things that really matter.

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    2. Agreed--but sometimes life matures us faster. =) I think it's healthy to always have a sense of your mortality, or the mortality of those around you. Makes you appreciate each moment, eh?

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  20. I think as the family gets older it just naturally gets smaller. I'm the oldest of four and I can remember huge get-togethers with aunts, uncles and cousins growing up. Then once each of us kids grew up and got married and had kids we became a new family of get-togethers and ceased hanging out with the aunts, uncles and cousins and they didn't notice because now they had their own small family unit. So for the longest time my kids grew up with aunts, uncles and cousins. Now my siblings kids are getting married & having kids and making them grand parents and my own two kids seem to have no need of mates, marriage or kids. Therefore my family get-togethers have dwindled down to my kids and I. Our saving grace is that my mom is still living and she lives with me. She will be 80 years old in December. Because she is still alive we do get my siblings coming over to spend time with us on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc., the big holidays. But once my mom is gone it will just be me and my kids. Much as I love my kids, I need more, I need grandchildren! So I will treasure these holidays coming up because you never know how much longer we will have my mom. But I feel your pain, I too miss the bigness of family.

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    1. Small family units seem to be getting smaller. I wonder why that is. Good to hear your Momma is still alive and kicking too. I wish you a fantastic and memorable Thanksgiving, Alicia. Thanks for such a wonderful comment.

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  21. I believe that as we get older, we find ourselves reflecting more and more on those around us. Who we should reach out to and those we should leave alone. I still like to send cards to cousins and aunts to let them know I'm thinking about them. Just a little note of hello just because. We may live far apart but I still carry memories of them in my heart.

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    1. Hi stranger. How's life? Maybe I should do the same and send everyone a X-mas card.

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  22. I was just thinking something similar today as I started planning out Christmas breakfast. Once started as a tradition by my mother-in-law, the reins haven been passed on to me to carry the tradition for the past 7 years or so. I wonder when the mil passes if we will continue the holiday breakfast with the nieces and nephews. They are starting families of their own now, my oldest will be off in some big city finding cures for disease and probably won't make it home, my youngest, well... who knows where her wild spirit will take her. It very well may just be me and Jason then. I am sure I will long for the stressful holiday prep, the headache inducing screaming from over-tired children, and trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to get everything done once it all disappears. So, for now, I am going to soak up every precious minute with my family while I can.

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    1. So you're in charge now. I bet you've been doing a great job these past seven years. The reins have not been passed on to me on account of the fact that that would be the end of my family. I can't cook, bake or boil to save my life, though I do know how to entertain guests.

      Your oldest is gonna leave the nest... Is that so? Something tells me that doesn't make you feel younger, right? Oh who knows, Theresa, she might make it home. Yes, soak up every single moment for they're not gonna last. It sucks a ton but that's just the way it is.

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    2. When the oldest one leaves the palace of Mahoney, Jason might make Theresa a new baby while they're still young :)

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    3. Oh I hope you're a smack dodger :)

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    4. Nope, Jason won't be making no more babies because Theresa made him get a vasectomy after Allison was born. It was "get your ass in and get fixed or don't even think about touching me again!" I carried two babies, and that was enough. I have 6 years before Allison leaves and then bring on the world travel!

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    5. "...or don't even think about touching me again!"

      OUCH!!!

      World travel.... Will that include Bora?

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    6. Hopefully Bora some day! But first, Ireland!

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    7. Good for you :)

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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    8. She wasn't cooking this year, so I'm guessing it was happy :) And she put poor Jason on a diet too, last I've heard....

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    9. Good one. Terrible but good. A diet?

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    10. yep, now you didn't hear this from me, but she told him he should quit gluten so that she shouldn't have to bake bread for him :) Not that you've heard this from me....

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    11. You're a riot Dezzy! Actually, I just want more bread for myself ;)

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  23. We had a small but close family. Divorce happened here, the older kids are grown and have significant others, so they feel they have to split their days between relatives on each side...and everyting in an instant became different here too. BUT 'tis the season to reflect and be thankful for our people. Regardless of the situations, I am very thankful for mine. :) Happy Thanksgiving, Blue!

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    1. If it were up to me, we wouldn't split our days between relatives. The house is big enough for everybody, but I guess that only happens in movies like Home Alone.

      We're still alive, Rosey. And we're still pretty ;)

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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  24. I am relatively young, but reading your thoughts has opened a new set of thoughts for me. Thanks for that, Blue. Also, I hope you have a great time with your wife and family and friends as long as they are here with you. That is all that matters :-)

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    1. My thoughts opened up a new set of thoughts for you. I didn't know I had it in me and it has made the writing of this post worth my while. Thanks.

      My health being as shaky as a ballerina on 1970's drugs, I've been trying to focus on the ones I love most and to avoid anyone who poisons my mind with negativity. So far, so good.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  25. Facing mortality is always a terrifying prospect and it's always easy to not realize what you have and who you have in your life until they're gone. I do hope you have a lovely time with all your loved ones this holiday season and beyond.

    I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

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  26. Amen, my blue brother. Happy Thanksgiving! I try to enjoy the here and the now even when it's difficult. I'm pretty lucky.

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Kitty. I know it has been difficult.

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  27. Even a clock that does not work is right twice a day. ~ Polish Proverb.

    And that's how I view this imperfect life. It goes right sometimes but not always as we plan for most of the time. It hurts when family members depart and our numbers become depleted and we are very much on the coveyor belt, but all we can do is to touch as many lives as we can and try to make people happy and have as much fun as we can along the way.

    I love your descriptive writing, Blue. You have a real talent.

    I am most fortunate that I have children and grandchildren and I know that my genes will live on through them and their successive generations. I am a very lucky man in that regard . . . :)

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    1. That's quite a proverb and it's as true as gold - the kinda gold I don't have. Don't you just hate conveyor belts... How they suck you dry yet strangely provide you with an odd sense of safety?

      Thanks for the complement. I'm sure I don't deserve it.

      Good to hear you consider yourself a lucky man, Eddie. I wouldn't want it any other way.

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  28. Happy Thanksgiving, Blue. Staring into the abyss is a sobering thing to do, but being thankful afterwards says loads!

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    1. Heaploads and truckloads, all right. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  29. Happy Thanksgiving! Yes. Holidays certainly make us think about the importance of family - even with all of their warts.

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  30. It's great Having everyone around
    Would have been a privilege so profound
    Mindful though situation not long sustaining
    Wonderful if all are together for Thanksgiving

    Hank

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  31. Well I'm ridiculously late. Anyway family is indeed important. Happy Belated Thanksgiving Blue.

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