|Me and my first dog, Sam. |
I was about 11 y/o.
This certainly, was not at Christmas (bare feet in Massachusetts!)
Back in '71, I was eleven years old. [Please don't do the math! Thanks.] I was hopelessly addicted to the song, "Family Affair" by Sly and the Family Stone. If you don't know it, here, have a listen. Just before midnight, I opened the "45" record. It was "Family Affair"!! I must have played it 5 times that night, on my parents' Magnavox stereo console (which I own today... it's in my basement). I remember my mom remarking about the lyrics and vocals -- she hadn't heard the song before. My dad, ever the music aficionado DID know the song, and grooved to it along with me. I even played air guitar before it was called "air guitar". Why this memory is so vivid, I do not know. It was just a normal, everyday moment in the life of our little family.
Today, I got three wonderful Christmas Eve gifts. All six of my beloved critters gathered in my kitchen simultaneously. Granted, it was feeding time, but they never, ever all show up at once. It's usually all three dogs (sometimes just two) and one cat at a time. I took pictures, but they didn't come out great. They're just for me to look at when I start getting separation anxiety when I'm traveling later this week (didja know, grown up people can get that too? Yep... Check it out).
The second gift I got today was a handwritten letter, in the mail, from my father's Army buddy, "Bud" Rosen. Those paying close attention might recall that I dedicated Volume 2 of MTAITW to Bud. Well, I had lost contact with him over the last several months. He's 91, so I was a little worried when communications stopped a few months ago. I finally tracked him down by emailing his daughter -- he had moved to a new apartment, no longer has internet or email. I sent him a card and a note in the regular mail, and said if you feel like writing back, please do. I sorta thought maybe I wouldn't hear from him. But all is well, and it was wonderful to hear from him on everything going on in his life. So, we've reverted to the old way of letter-writing through the good ol' U.S. mail. (I like to think my father somehow arranged that!)
|An earlier Christmas|
The third gift was another snail mail item -- this time a Christmas card from "my second mom", Stella. She's my childhood friend's mother, and we grew up next door. Our moms lived next door to each other for several decades. Both houses were sold in 2010 within a few months of each other. New, young families have taken over our corner. It was just a quick note from Stella, but I always love hearing from her -- she is my kindred spirit in many ways, we have a lot of inside jokes and even though we aren't blood relations, I consider them just as much family as anyone else.
So, remember, no matter what kind of family you have, it's a family affair.
If you want to read a tale about another very special Christmas Eve from my childhood, click here.