I believe it’s safe to say Christmas was a success. We all got through it, didn’t we? For those who don’t have a glorious time, you got through. And from the other side of the holiday, you can be grateful. Our dinner group yesterday was grateful for each other. Family and friends are so important.
We are a group of friends and family who have known each other for a long time. The Babe met his brother-in-law Lou a very long time ago, Lou’s wife was the Babe’s sister-in-law. Lou’s wife and the Babe’s ex-wife both lost to lung cancer, within a year of each other. It’s been a long time. When the Babe’s kids were growing up, they spent a lot of time with Lou and his wife. They all celebrated Christmas together.
Since Lou lost his wife, niece Tracy (the Babe’s daughter) & TJ & kids are present for Christmas; Lou invited the Babe and me, since my siblings don’t gather, and my kids all stay home. So for several years, it was the seven of us. Lou is an incredible host. We enjoy his company a lot. His eldest daughter, retired from the Kennedy Center a couple years ago, is now part of our group, which now totals eight.
Lou does most of the work, the beef loin he presents every year is top shelf restaurant grade. He prides himself in his cooking, wine cellar, and the family he raised. As I looked around the table yesterday, I was so grateful for those people. We’ve kind of formed our own Christmas family, from all of us being parts of something that we may not have anymore, for whatever reason. It’s definitely by invitation, which is an honor to receive.
We all bring a dish or two, our beverage of choice, and the thoughts of gratitude to the table. Lou asked us to share those things as we went around the table. It feels so wonderful to be part of something that exists out of the kindness of someone’s heart. It allows us to be with the grandkids and Tracy & TJ separate from everyone else. And it’s good. TJ lost both of his parents in the last couple years, so our circle is closing in a way. We give freely of hugs and love and encouragement. We listen to each other’s stories. We laugh with and at them. Kidding is good-natured. The Babe and I are grateful to Lou for his kindness.
The Babe and Lou have known each other for over 40 years. Lou owned the company the Babe came to Omaha to work for. He has learned a lot from Lou and with him. They are closer than some brothers I know. It is a respect and love that is thicker than blood. It’s beautiful to be a part of that. If not for the Babe coming to Omaha, we likely would not have ever met. See how things work out like that? God sees the big picture. We are just parts of it.
After taking December off from writing my novel, I feel refreshed and eager to get back to writing. I’ve missed it, but needed a break. This morning, I donned my new sweatshirt to mark the occasion. It’s official now.
So here we go again, boys and girls! We’re going to do some planning today and tomorrow, and Monday we will begin our writing journey again, to the end of the novel, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” It’s a story about overcoming. We have all done it, if we realize it or not. It’s about being braver than you ever thought possible; it’s about learning to be open; it’s about learning to be smart; it’s about learning to survive in life; and it’s also about learning to love.
Thanks for reading today. Let’s begin now to make 2021 the best year ever. We’re appreciative, resolute, and energized to get out and become. Become whatever you would like. It’s up to you. Be Kind. Be Enthused. You will love your life! See you tomorrow.