Thursday, November 29, 2012

Once upon a time, we were children

Dear Ricky.

   Do you still go by that name, or is it Rick now?  
I remember when we were kids, you and your brother were so close, it was as if his and yours were one long name.  I think my sisters were probably that way too, although mostly what people told me was that the one was so shy, they only remembered the other, and didn't realize there were two.

Your name came up the other day, as you can imagine, and made me stop and think about way-back-when.  Made me think I have some things I want to share with you.  Keep in mind, it's been nearly 40 years since we first met, I have no idea what's been going on with you.

I remember your Mother.  She had me over one day ~ something about having a girl around for a day, instead of all those boys.  We made cookies, I think.  I had never heard of Oleo.  Your Mother was a very different person from our Mother.  I didn't really get to know her in the time I spent with her.

It was your Father I learned more about.  Probably because of all the time we listened to him, in the congregation, but the story of our father was sad, so to listen to yours was a comfort that we needed at that moment.  In person he was very kind, genuine and was heartfelt.   I can still hear his laugh.  So many others were too stiff to laugh, but he could and did.  I wonder if your laugh as an adult is anything like his.

I got you in trouble once or I got myself in trouble, I guess.  Somehow I met you and your brother at the mall, looking at 45's.  You guys had a pretty extensive collection at home, I remembered.  We didn't buy records then, unless they were at yard sales or the thrift stores.  I remember one song you guys showed me, I said I'd heard it on the radio before.  You bought it, but it apparently gave one of you nightmares.  Do you remember?  I think it was you that told me about bad dreams, but I don't recall if it was you or your brother that had them.  I don't even remember what song it was, but I always felt bad about that.  One of those recollections that always cause me regret, occasionally a sleepless night, wondering what I could have done differently.  I have a quite the selection of memories that do that, I suppose being human we all do.

What has been going on with you?  I can't even begin to guess.  I'm sure there was some gossip going around about you, I'm sure there is some about me too.  I'm not a big fan about that kind of drama, so I truly have not heard anything.  Life has not gone the way I'd hoped, but my expectations were thin at best.  

If you are where I've heard you are, I'm sure that life has not gone the way you've planned, that you've made every kind of mistake any normal human could make.   I do hope that you, in your heart, still talk to God and know he's listening, like your father taught you, that He truly is the only being you can rely on.  I hope you are standing tall, like your dad.

I also hope that someday, you and I, your siblings and mine, will find ourselves happy to be in each others presence, and make each other laugh and show our children how to be grown ups, that you and I will be close as brother and sister, too, and that in our old age we can be content in each other's company.  

That is the definition of hope, isn't it?  The idea of something seemingly unlikely, but yearned for just the same.