The first day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) is officially begun. This month’s theme is “Relative,” which means daily posts related to one’s family, however the writer defines “family.”
I will say up front that my definition of “family” is a bit broader than many, but more limited than some. Confused? Don’t be. I figure that if I love, care for, and am concerned about, a person, I consider them family in one sense or another.
Also, I’m a perverse person at times, who regularly reads magazines and catalogs from the back to the front. While I know that today’s suggested prompt is “mother,” I intend to save her for last.
Having said all of that, I’m going to begin with surrogate family, before moving on to real, blood-related people.
Many years ago, I was privileged to teach at a small Native American College here in Montana. The first class I taught there, Intro to Sociology 101, was peopled with mostly matriculated students, both Native American and White.
One who sat close to the front was a marvelous character who had an imp of the Irish within and a laugh that carried everyone along for the ride. Lou was bright, inquisitive, and talented. He played guitar in a band to help support his family while he went back to school for a degree.
A couple of months later I found myself sitting at Lou’s dining table for a Thanksgiving dinner. There was always room at the family table for another diner, with/without an invitation. Drop in and you were invited to partake in whatever meal was being served.
That was a marvelous day, filled with laughter and discovery as to who these new friends were, who were making a place for themselves in my heart.
Over the next year, Lou and I discovered some peculiar links between us. The more we talked, the more “deja-vu” things became. We’d both lived in Jackson, WY, at the same time, went to the same places, knew some of the same people, and yet, had never met. We knew the same woman in Detroit who owned a business just outside the boundary of Greektown. I’d been there several times during a period of residency in Rochester.
Those were just two of the oddities. It was as if our lives had been entangled in this family way for so long, while neither knew of the other’s existence.
There are those who posit that people connect with those whose souls have always been close to them over time and in past lives. I cannot refute that any more than I can prove it.
All I can say is that this man is as close to me in some ways as a brother of blood would be, that I hurt if he’s in distress, and that his family is as dear to me as the one into which I was born.
I don’t get to see him often enough. We live hours apart now, but when schedules and weather permits, I go to see this other family of mine. I get to talk with both Lou and his wife, two of their children, and get to know the grandchildren now. And while their trials are their own, as mine belong to me, they will always hold a piece of my heart and thoughts and reside in my prayers each night.
I love you all, Lou, warts and all.
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