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That Old Gang Of Mine

Saturday we were invited to my cousins, husband's 60th birthday party. It was held at a friend of theirs home, about 90 minutes from us. I love seeing my cousins, and I wish they were a bit closer since we just can't leave Linda's mom alone for too long. We always enjoy seeing them, and their friends, many of whom we have met several times over the years.

As much as we enjoyed a rare night out, I couldn't help but remember the many great nights we had, back in Chicago, with our friends of a lifetime and a half. To be clear, there is no chance on earth that we would ever consider moving back to Chicago, we are very happy here in the desert. There is, however, the void in our lives that our friends filled for so many years.

This time of year was especially exciting as there would be multiple Saturday night events for us to escape to. We would have the traditional holiday dinner with my high school friends, rotating each year so that nobody was always stuck with doing all the work. We all would try to outdo the incredible spread that Nancy and Randy put out when they hosted. And when I say Nancy and Randy, I of course mean, Nancy. Randy would help, but for sure it was the Nancy show, as she just has that knack of setting the right table and mood for the night.

However, no matter who hosted the night each year, whether it was the Smiths, us, or Linda and Mark, it was always special and wonderful. We all did a nice job, and it was always fun to catch up, one last time, before the new year with each other. It was something Linda and I looked forward to each year.

We also had our traditional holiday dinner, with Tom and Teri. Just the four of us celebrating a long and heartfelt friendship that is important to all four of us. This was another night we looked forward to each year.

Additionally, we always had another get together with Bret and Kathy and John and Patti, long time friends from work and golf. Another special night that was a must do each holiday season. Great food, great friends, and lots of laughs.

There is just something about getting together with good friends that makes the holiday's even more special. Of course family is nice, but those gatherings come with so much baggage that for many people it is hard to relax and enjoy the time together. It's not that you don't love your family, it's just that everyone falls back into the roles they had as a seven year old growing up.

As much as we love it out here, there is no doubt that we also miss our friends back in Chicago, or wherever they have moved to over the years. They are especially front of mind at certain times of the year when you remember all the good times you had sharing it with them. The Fourth of July picnic's, the early season baseball game, or the weekend on the lake.

The best thing about your friends is that they make time to keep in touch, and get together, even when they become grandparents, and the obligations that come along with that role. We have been blessed to have so many close friendships over the years. I just wanted to let them know we are thinking of them, still, this holiday season.

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