Monday, February 16, 2015

auditioning for our gang

My tribe is small.

Dad was an only child.  That made his side of the family a rather short branch.  But not a barren one. 

There was a passel of great-aunts and uncles.  And a few cousins near my age.  For whatever reason, they seemed a bit distant.  At least, in consanguinity.

My mother came from a moderate-sized family.  Three older siblings -- one brother and two sisters.  The Munro kids.  (My mother's name is Marilyn.  You can do the math on that one.)

My uncle Wayne never married.  You met him in let my people know.  If you click on the link, that is him on the far right.

Over the years, you have met most of the rest of the cast.  My mother's two sisters are Naomi and Berneice. 

Naomi has two sons: Dennis (who I accompanied on our southern European cruise last May) and Gary. 

Berneice has three children: Marsha, Dan (who I joined on our trip through Mexico last month), and Robin.

That means Darrel and I have five first cousins.  If the Mexican citizenship folks discover my deficiency, I will undoubtedly be asked to leave the country.

When we lived in the mountains of southern Oregon, we saw Marsha and Dan often.  (Robin is several years younger.)  They lived in the big town of Myrtle Point -- what we called "down below."  I would say that they lived just down the "holler" from us, but we were mountain people, not hillbillies.

We did not see Dennis and Gary much back then.  They lived in exotic places like Hawaii, Long Beach, and Seattle because their father was in the Coast Guard.  When he retired, they settled in Portland.  My parents had moved to Portland a decade earlier.

For a brief period, Dan, Dennis, and I attended college together.  About a year, I think.  We then went our separate ways seeing one another only occasionally.

I am not certain when this photograph of the three of us was taken.  Or where.  Or during what.

We appear to be at a restaurant or a hotel conference room.  What is obvious is that I have slapped a supercilious smirk on my face.  Over the years, it is a simple task to identify me in photographs.

Dan brought both of these photographs along on our trip as family tribute.  I am glad that someone has kept these little gems.

Marsha was in Bend this past week.  It is the first opportunity, in a very long time, I have had to sit and reminisce with her about our several battles and far more numerous good times over our lifetime.

I suppose it is a sure sign of aging when we start looking back over our lives -- when we try to put the prospective into context with the retrospective.  Sometimes, it is hard to tell one from the other.

One theme that has come up recurringly over the past ten months of conversations with Darrel, Dennis, Dan, and Marsha is the concept of regret.  I have none.  Maybe it is why Edith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien" has long been one of my favorites.*

Regrets are a waste of time.  The past cannot be changed.  The future cannot be predicted.  All we have is this moment.

And that is never a thing to regret.

* -- For those of you with a good memory, you may recall my rather strange memories involving Edith Piaf and my Great-aunt Bessie (my best girl).


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