Friday, March 02, 2007

Food for Thought

It's funny how things pop in (and out too) of my mind from time to time.

Take tonight, for example.

This afternoon, I had to take Kate (the 15-year-old stepgranddaughter) to the doctor as she's been complaining, since Tuesday, about her stomach hurting and making a lot of noise. The doctor said she had some kind of viral gastric infection that should finish passing through her system by Monday and nothing drastic to worry about.

But, this morning, I was kind of in a not so great mood because I really just didn't want to leave the house! Now anyone who has known me for a long, long time would know that isn't me- not the old me anyway. Because for a long time, I was ready, willing and able to hop in the car and take off at pretty much the drop of a hat. Short hops, long trips - made no difference as I was generally up to that task very quickly. But now, I don't want to be bothered to shower, do my hair, find some outfit that looks semi-presentable (i.e. doesn't make me look like a stuffed sausage in a fat old steak/sausage type bun) and I'd much rather stay here, in the house, doing whatever on the computer or reading or knitting or some other "homebody" type thing. (Except for cleaning or washing dishes, that is.) LOL

Once out though, although it was really, really windy which does absolutely nothing for my hairdo du jour and trust me, I am not one who looks even semi-presentable with the "wind-blown" effect, I was really content to do a little shopping, albeit it only at Walmart and then a quick stop at the local grocery store to return a dvd Mandy had rented the other day.

After supper, I crashed on the couch and when I woke up around 9:30 or so and checked my e-mail, there was a really neat little forward my cousin - the Red Head - had sent me about the need for "Friends" and girl friends, in particular. And reading that, it did remind me then and there -especially since she had added a few things to point out to me how our relationship has come full circle over the past couple of years - thanks to the internet!

When we were kids, living about 8 miles apart, we usually saw each other at least one or two Sundays out of the month as Mom would frequently stop at my Dad's family homestead and we would visit then with Red's parents and my younger aunt there - they all lived together at that time in the homestead.

But, as we got older - jr/sr high, etc. - Red and I drifted apart. Some of that had to do with the fact my Mom - for whatever reason - seemed to withdraw from my Dad's family. Not totally, but we didn't go there nor did we go to visit any of her friends as we used to do when I was younger either. In retrospect, I think my Mom's issues may have been a combination of menopausal junk and depression and she never really came out of the latter and back to her old self.

I always, in the past, had taken a lot of pride in the knowledge that I felt I had a great number of good friends - some closer than others - but all really good friends. For about 18 years, I sold Avon in this area and got to know a lot more people through that route - one being a friend I acquired when my son was just a baby as was her son and that friendship seemed to be one that was going to be a long-standing one. But over the past maybe ten years now or so, it has dwindled to where if I see her at the grocery store or maybe at a little local restaurant, that is the extent now of our contact. We used to meet for lunch or get together at her house or mine to gab for hours over coffee and talk about our kids, work, craft projects, etc. And now, it is like we have nothing in common anymore. My daughter suggested a month or two ago that maybe I should call her and try to get that relationship back on track again and I refused to do that. I don't know why exactly, but I just can't handle listening to the litany again of how WONDERFUL her life is, her kids are, her grandchildren, her job - yadda yadda. It puts me into a nasty funk type mood and I just feel I am better off without dealing with those feelings again. Sometimes I think it is just a jealousy thing that creeps into me there and I shouldn't feel that way but yet - I can't bring myself to open up there again.

Right now though, I agreed to help my neighbor in any way I can to help get things set up for our 45th class reunion and that, now that I am looking forward to doing! I am looking forward first off to seeing some of my old classmates once again as I ALWAYS really enjoy our class reunions!!! Over the years, since graduation, the kids in our class seem to have jelled, come together as one, in a way. Even though in high school I was far from being a social butterfly or life of the party person - I never dated at all then - but each time our class has a reunion, those old things are forgotten as we all really seem to be very, very happy to be back together again. People who 45-50 years ago barely spoke to each other now hug and kiss each other and the aura that exudes around the group is such that I really wish it could stay there day after day after day!

There are a few of my old classmates that I keep in touch with directly via e-mail and some, indirectly but also via e-mail as some of my old classmates have siblings that I communicate with frequently and in that way, keep a little up-to-date on what a few classmates are doing these days. It's something that I am really grateful that I got a computer 8 years ago and also, that I got as addicted as I am to e-mailing and stuff like that too!

When I think about how I started to become more reclusive though, I really think it began back in 2003 after I learned I had cancer. Although the first couple of months after the diagnosis, I was out and about as much as I had been before - the early chemo treatments and radiation didn't really slow me down. It was after the surgery and the problems with my back and legs and I just got more and more accustomed to staying in and not really wanting to leave the house and it's just kind of grown from there I suppose.

Now, if someone or something happens that gives me an excuse to get out, go someplace, get together with folks - other than shopping or doctor's appointments - especially if a certain high school friend e-mails me that she is coming home from Colorado for a week or so, I come out of the woodwork and try to contact as many from our class as I can to meet while she is home for lunch. And, often, that may be the only time during the year I call those folks but I really enjoy pulling a little impromptu meeting like that together.

The same goes for my family reunion which is held the last weekend of July every year and I really get the adrenaline pumped up for that - making plans to cook enough to feed a couple small armies, getting things ready for the auction we have to cover our expenses, the park set up, notices sent out to family members scattered all over the country now and praying that this will be the year our attendance will perk up a little bit as it's been falling off a lot over the past 2-3 years. I actually tend to get more psyched up over the family reunion than I do a lot of the time about Christmas. Sometimes I think that is because as a child, Christmas meant lots and lots of extended family being around here and now, the only time I see the extended family is usually at our reunion - unless there happens to be a death in the family and then, well I'd rather not have that happen as a reason for us to get together ya know.

My neighbor and classmate who lives down the street from me - still - we've been neighbors for roughly 50 years now - has asked me though to do again this year for our class reunion like I did at our last one, which means I will be sort of the "emcee" you could say I guess. Ok, Kate - I hope I can do a decent job of that for you. And, if anyone reading this posting was a member of the West Branch Area High School, Cooper Center, Class of 1962 - just mark your calendar right now to plan to attend our 45th Class Reunion on June 2, 2007 at "Hedges Restaurant" in Clearfield, PA! I don't have the time yet or the data on meal costs but Kate feels it will run most likely around $13-14 per person, which is pretty darned reasonable!

And, if any of my classmates is reading this and has any suggestions - memory things they would like to share, greetings to relay to other classmates if they can't be there at the Reunion - anything whatsoever, please feel free to click into the e-mail thing on my profile page and write and let me know what's on your mind about our reunion, about life in general, about your current status, children and grandchildren, etc., and yes - about all of us still being friends after all these many years too!

One of my blogger friends, Barb at Skittles Place, commented today too about friends and friendship - maybe it's a topic on the minds of many today (apparently) - and it also triggered me to post this piece about family and friends and such. It made me realize how much I DO value the friendships I've maintained over the years since childhood or from when I worked in Washington, or lived in this place or that, as well as how family and friends all become very intermingled too.

It also made me think about the friends I've been making too since starting this blog experience and how nice it is to read what others say in their blog and to also read the comments they leave behind after visiting my little place in cyberspace too. Some will scoff at those people actually being friends but I would beg to differ there as often they come forward and point out things to me that perhaps family and long-time friends might not see or pick up on. Anyway you cut it, to me, they comprise my family of relatives and friends now and I'm really glad I have every last one of those people in my life!

Without family -close, extended - and friends - also close ones and those we don't see frequently but who are still in that fold and those we communicate with on other levels (like blogs and e-mails) - what else is there then?

Nite all - my friends!