Ettie Newlands

My father’s advice is ringing true.

He didn’t offer many words of wisdom, and when he did, they were, and not necessarily for the right reasons, always memorable.

When my mother was getting all the “Jeopardy” answers right, he said, “Everything you know, you either read or someone told you.”

When my sister went for counseling, quoting Samuel Goldwyn my father said, “Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist needs their head examined.”

I remember him telling me to “put that book down and go outside and kick a ball.”

The only other advice he ever offered me was that “If you die with one real friend, you die rich.”

I understood neither friendship, nor death nor riches at the time.

The coronavirus has reminded me of my father’s words. I’m aware that many of my friends are like family and much of my family are also friends.

Like everyone else, I dearly missed my friends and extended family. Reconnecting recently has made me feel…well, very rich.

Rich in love, rich in friendship, rich in more blessings than I realized before.

With my own anti-social distancing relaxing just a tad bit, I forgot what a good listener Gloria is.

I was reminded of what a great cook Steven is and what a wonderful hostess Whitney is.

I saw again with delight how much Izabel looks and sounds like her Mom.

I had almost forgotten the comfort of just curling up on my daughter’s couch with a cup of tea.

My father would have ignored all the health cautions that came with COVID-19 and charged, bull in the china shop style through the pandemic with no mask, no gloves and no concern, because the rules always applied to other people, not to him.

(When he drove up a down ramp on an interstate and an ambulance was coming at us, he calmly said, “He’s in a bigger hurry than I am, he’ll go around me.”)

We have laughed heartily and lovingly over the years at my father’s worldview, even though he was most often quite wrong.

I never did put the book down, and I rarely kicked a ball.

But he was right about friendship – I am truly rich.

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