October 26, 2004

...You got to have friends...

An old friend of mine -- we've known each other for 25+ years -- sent me an e-mail today. The sentiments resonate within me -- and the "simple" friend category is a test that most of my blood relatives could not pass. "Real," for them, would be out of the question.

It's quite apropos this week: my extended family could fit in a minivan, but if we hadn't buried my grandmother together 20 years ago, I don't see that we would have had any further connection to one another. As a group, they have less compassion than a piece of cardboard. Cardboard bends; they don't. When my dad died, if they had stayed home, we wouldn't have noticed.

Through one familial extortion (from my mom) , I have become the designated family representative, obligated to go to my cousin's daughter's bat mitvah this coming weekend. My cousin's sister says, "it's for Rachael," the bat mitzvah girl. When I last saw Rachael, five years ago, she didn't know who I was. I somehow doubt that has changed. On Friday, the farce begins. Saturday, the charade ends. I suppose I can sustain it for 24 hours this time, but I'm not likely to repeat the experience. The trick question is, do they plan to invite me to be part of their family's photo op.

When my father was my age, we started leaving the country in lieu of having Christmas with his sister's family. Her three offspring are my only cousins. I can consider only one of them my friend -- and his sister, mother of the bat mitzvah girl -- sent him an audio tape with a recording of the Hebrew he needs to memorize to participate in the ceremony. For all he knows, he could be singing, come to a white sale at Bloomingdale's. No wonder you can pick your friends, but not your family.

But I digress. Here is the full e-mail my friend sent:

A Real Friend Test!! This is good ... I expect it back too!
A simple friend has never seen you cry. A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.
A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names. A real friend has their phone numbers in her address book.
A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party. A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.
A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed. A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.
A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems. A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.
A simple friend wonders about your romantic history. A real friend could blackmail you with it.
A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest. A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.
A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you HAVE an argument. A real friend calls you after you had a fight.
A simple friend expects you to always be there for them. A real friend expects to always be there for you!
A simple friend reads this e-mail and deletes it. A real friend passes it on and sends it back to you!
Pass this on to anyone you care about......if you get it back you have no beginning, no end.
It keeps us together, like our Circle of Friends.
Today I pass the friendship ball to you. Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.....


Post a Comment

<< Home