I write this while seated on the back porch watching the dusk arrive, and the lights streetlights below me turn on. Cars with their lights on, snake down the gently windy road. Everyone is on their way somewhere. Even those of us who work out of our homes, whose choice of profession gives them both the luxury and sometimes boredom of being here 24/7. Well, almost.
Tomorrow I leave for Chicago. Daughter wants to see the city, and I realize it’s been over eighteen years since I last saw Seurat. It’s time to see the Field Museum, walk along Michigan Avenue, and eat good food.
“I thought this was going to be a family vacation,” said the teen age daughter. It’s hard. Sometimes teenagers seem to want nothing to do with family, other times they demand exclusivity. Her complaint was heard, but alas, too late. But I’m sure, Daughter will survive a bit of parental sociability. She forgets: when you work out of your house, sometimes the only thing you talk to is the dog or cat.
It seems as I get older the chance of me knowing someone somewhere increases, especially since Facebook. So I’m meeting my friends Tin & Phoenix, and I hope Zen Pundit, Blackfive, Steve Baskis and Counterintuitivity for pizza on Friday night. You might want to read the blog Tin & Phoenix, as she (a former Marine) has a book giveaway for a book on Fallujah.
I smile, because as a child I had many penpals in what seemed like far flung places: Palos Verdes, Virginia, and even ones close to home. I loved receiving letters from them, telling me about their lives. Often, I’m sure I had little to say. I had a dog, lived in a region of farms and rivers, where peat would blow in and make us all sneeze. Nothing seemed very exotic. I remember one time the penpal in Virginia sent me a T-shirt that said, “Virginia is for lovers.” You would have thought it was Gucci. I was all of ten, and wore that shirt everyday. I had no idea what it meant. But it was exotic enough for me.
But now we have Facebook, and the kick of it is, sometimes I save up enough money to meet my friends too. What brings us together? A sense of humor, persistent good cheer, a sense of irony, a love of words. And for some, the military, but more to the point: the experience of war. It is life changing, and those who have watched loved ones go away, or others who have served and been through the hell of it, take great comfort in knowing the military support community will always be there. There exists strength and vulnerability, and the friendships between veterans are ones that last a lifetime. Plus, there’s always a parade of new friends coming by. That’s where I’ll be Friday night in Chicago: at a parade meeting new friends.
As the sun finally sets, I reflect: There’s much to be grateful for, especially friends.