The Richest (Wo)man in Town

I’ve always known that I have incredible friends. Sweet, hilarious and kind friends. But since my family and I have started our year-long spending moratorium, I never knew how generous they were. Today is the end of week 3 of this little “adventure” (sounds better than suck fest, right?). In these three weeks, I have received offers of clothing hand-me-downs for my son (which I accepted), a future gift of clothing for my son (which I also accepted), and an offer of $200 from a dear friend to help us through the winter (which I turned down but forever grateful for the offer). Then today, I received cash in the mail from a colleague-turned-good-friend. She knows how much I enjoy sending Christmas cards and she wanted to bring me joy this holiday. She said it was her favorite Christmas gift she gave this year.

I am stunned by the generosity of my friends. I shouldn’t be, since I’ve had the great opportunity to meet and fall in love with people all over this country.  It doesn’t seem to matter what color, religion, sexual orientation, gender or socioeconomic background—my friends are beautiful and kind and sweet.  And I feel unbelievably lucky to be loved by so many good, good people.

But…please know that I’m not writing about our spending moratorium to ask for money or assistance or pity. I write about it because it makes me feel better. It makes me feel like my friends are listening and they’re letting me vent…which is exactly what you’re doing. Y’all listen and sometimes offer advice and I love you for it. It’s my version of therapy. FREE therapy.

As I write this post, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is playing on the television. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Although I love George Bailey and all the good he did for Bedford Falls, look at the people he surrounded himself with–the family he was born into, his wife Mary, his children, his clarence_fg20afriends like Bert and Ernie–all good, good people. When life gets tough, it’s hard to stay positive. But when you surround yourself with kind, generous, good people, then it makes everything a bit easier. It can make life wonderful!

So the question remains. Will I use my friend’s money to buy and send Christmas cards? I did talk to her and talked to my husband, too. I let the money sit on the kitchen counter and re-read the wonderful note my friend sent in my first Christmas card I’ve received this season. And finally….

Yes.

Yes, I will use my lovely gift to send and write Christmas cards and letters to some of my favorite people in the world. Does it feel a little weird and maybe selfish? It does. But my friend has asked me to try not to feel odd about it and I’m going to do just that.

So if you’re one of those folks that typically receive a card from me? Be sure to check out my friend’s blog. You’ll find it listed on the sponsorship blurb in the lower right corner of the card. 😀

My village

NPR recently broadcast a story about a man who built a retirement community in Florida, where he invited people from his native country to come and live. (All folks were welcome, but the community was designed to look like India with Indian food and music.) I listened to the story and wondered what kind of community I would like to retire to if I had the choice. What cultural group would I belong to?  I certainly identify with Mainers (and there are a load of communities in Florida filled with Mainers), but I also love being with librarians, women, writers, readers, and very tall people.

So who would live in *my* community? I want to hand pick them. Right now. I don’t want to wait until I retire. Do you know how many times I’ve wished all of my friends and family lived within walking distance of me?

I wish all of my college roommates could meet and talk about how horrid I was to live with. (Aymie and Becky, I think you would really get along. You’re both educators and great mommas and honestly, you’re both so sensual that being in the same room might make the room explode but it would be awesome!)

I wish some of my writer friends and family could meet and talk about literature and writing and wow each other with all the shit they know. (I’d love for Sean to meet Phil so they could discuss the books they’re writing or want to write. Of course then they’d end up talking about Star Wars at some point and would have to have THE talk. Han or Greedo?)

I want my work friends from all the libraries, bookstores and video stores to meet and talk about books and reading and how freaky the public can be. Share stories about the most disgusting thing (or person) you ever had to touch. (Judy from the bookstore could tell her tale about throwing away the pen the “urine lady” used and Heidi could talk about the many sticky videotape cases she had to clean.)

I want my college friends to meet my high school friends. I want my new friends to meet my old friends. I want to introduce Jess to Jo because I think they were sisters in a previous life.  I want Moriah to meet my son because I think they would love each other, even if my son will be taller than her by the time he’s 9. I want Leanne to meet my husband because they’re both such excellent and creative cooks and would have the most spectacular cooking competition ever. And Sarah and Lyn should be there to judge it because they have the best palates!

But I also want Tiffany to live closer because she seems to calm me. And Gary could work on my back with his physical therapy mojo. And Trish inspires me (and makes me cry). And Theresa makes me want to do good. And John makes me feel good about what I’ve accomplished in life. Denise and Jean bring me common sense. Chrissy makes me laugh. Monica makes me feel better about myself. Ang brings love and reminds me to be who I really am. And I want to meet all of Nichole’s family and Shannon’s kids and see Andrea and Casey in person again and oh my word this will never end! (Don’t worry, I know you were thinking it.)

On Valentine’s Day (or Dress in Black Day), maybe don’t worry so much about getting flowers and candy for your honey or get upset because you don’t have a honey to begin with. Perhaps you could think about all those fantastic people (and animals!) you have in your life instead. Who would you want to live in *your* village?