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November 25th, 2003

Friends, the Family You Choose

It's good to have goals in life. I've just made up a new one for myself. It is my goal to own the entire Future Sounds of Jazz and Om Lounge CD collections. I got the original "Future Sounds of Jazz" back in 1999 and it's still one of my favorite CDs.

I've been noticing an alarming trend on TV lately. There is an abundance of commercials aimed at teaching parents how to be...well, parents. Let me repeat that - they have commercials teaching parents how to be parents. It's utterly obvious that parenting skills in this day and age aren't what they used to be (damn that no-spanking bullshit that started it all!), but you know it's gotten out of hand when the gov'mt feels the need to make public messages on TV offering up good parenting skills. That's just bad.

This life has taught me many things, but one of the more important lessons was that you don't have to be blood to be family. Mrs. Elsie and her brother, who we called Beep-Beep, lived across the street from my grandparents all of my life. They lived there when my mother and uncle were growing up as well. Mrs. Elsie and Beep-Beep were our family - they came over every holiday and we loved them like we would have any other family member. When they both went to live in separate nursing homes a few towns away, we still went to pick them up and brought them to spend the holidays with us. When Beep-Beep passed away a few years ago, it was my family who saw to all the arrangements and paid for his funeral. It was we that put "Beep-Beep" on his headstone, and we that lovingly bring flowers on the important holidays. Now Mrs. Elsie is very ill and in the hospital. We go to visit her, and she sometimes cries telling us how much she loves us. The nurses always ask, "Are you family?" Well yes, and no. We are in every way that counts, but my grandfather still had to lie to one nurse and say he was a cousin to get information on her condition.

The point of all this is that your friends and close loved ones are sometimes more your family than the one you were born into. I have always believed that these people are the "family you choose". Think about all of the people that are special in your life who are not blood related. This is the special family you have chosen - the people you have in your life because they make it a better place. Maybe you should give some of them a call.

With that, I'm outta here for the evening. Hope you have a nice one.

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