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Re: Another Reason to be Grateful

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Since this is the one time of year to be maudlin and get away with it, I'll
chip into this pot.
My wife and I celebrated our 17th anniversary yesterday. Rather than have a
quiet dinner together, we invited and spent our evening with twenty friends.
Not all of our friends, but those that we have met over the last five years.
The funny thing was, we never really knew how many true friends we had. My
wife lost her dad almost twenty years ago and her brother six years ago.
Most of my closest friends are gone, either by accident or ailment. For
almost eighteen years (we knew each other for almost two years before we got
married, Mari and I have spent the holidays depressed and home alone. We
generally ignored the holiday spirit and retired early to pass just another
day.
The last two years have been especially tough on us since Mari's mom moved
in with us and is in failing health. My dad, too, has been ill which does
not have a good prognosis for octogenarians. Last year we lost my aunt  who
was a 54 year old Downs Syndrom adult - much like a little sister to me who
never grew up.
This year, however, Mari and I decided to have Thanksgiving with friends. We
invited a few people we knew would be alone during the holidays and might
enjoy the company. We learned a great lesson that night - you can never be
alone with friends that care. We suddenly faced a much brighter prospect for
our futures as we pledged ourselves never to spend a holiday alone again.
Last night we had our Christmas / Chaunaka party with the same friends that
we had at Turkey day and about the same number again of new and old
friends - one who I was in college with, a few I never met before but Mari
was friendly with. I spent half the day on the roof putting up decorations
(Lumenaries which are traditional Hispanic Christmas lights representing
paper bags filled with sand to hold them down and candles in the center -
ours of course were the electric equivalents) around the parapets of our
Southwest style home.
Again, we had a wonderful evening with friends that we grow closer with
every day.

We tell each other how lucky we are to have each other, but this is not
enough. We need friends and for the first time in our relationship we look
forward to spending our holidays with people around us.

For Bill, I have one comment - you have many more friends than you know. You
may not be close with them or see them often, but I guarantee you have more
friends that would go out of their way to stand by you than you might think.
I learned that this was true for Mari and I. We discovered that there are
many others who lock themselve in their homes on holidays and spend the
hours depressed and lonely - this is truly unnecessary and foolish.

We all have much to be thankful and it's too bad that the only time we can
stop and count our blessings is those few times a year.

Happy and prosperous New Year to you all.
Dennis