Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holidailies -- Day 18

Today's prompt: Write a 'holiday card' letter - the sort that recaps the year. Say what you want to say instead of what you might send to relatives.

Well, I'm not going to do that exactly. But what I really want to say is that -- with the highly notable exceptions of my Aunt Jo and Cousin Rose --  my relatives mean less and less to me. The ones who have provided me with comfort since my mother died in September have been my friends (real live and cyber). Developing new traditions with them has been what brings me joy this holiday season. I'm not sure how that sentiment would play in a card, though.

Could I interest you in a tie?

Had drinks last night with my friend, Ed. He is now working retail -- men's shirts and ties, first floor at Macy's. And he seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself.

Which is good, because Ed's life has been more difficult than just about anyone I can imagine. In 2008, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and there were harrowing complications to his surgery. Then he lost his job, one that he truly loved, working for a film institute. Then in 2011, his only child was diagnosed with leukemia on the eve of her wedding and almost died.

Both he and his daughter are in remission (yea!) and his wife works regularly as an editor. So while finances are tight and it's been a blow to his pride to not find a new job as approaches (or maybe he already hit) 60, he's had the freedom to try some unconventional things in an attempt to bring in new income. For example, he's appeared live on stage as an extra for the Lyric Opera and will have non-speaking roles for the TV show Chicago Fire.

And he's working part-time selling ties at Macy's, where he's met some interesting people and has some very good stories. And he gets 10% off all Macy's merchandise and brings home about $100/week after taxes.

My best friend -- unemployed since August 1 -- has been dabbling in catering, a career he's been dreaming about. My friend in Key West, a college professor a few years ago, is now at the local newspaper, designing classified, and he's very happy, too (though, like Ed, he misses his old salary).

I hope that all these men that I love have highly enjoyable second acts.