A Wealth of Friends.

I thought I posted this last spring.. apparently not. Better late than never.

One of the favorite posters we had hanging in the house as the kids grew up was a poster that listed the names of groups of things… A flock of geese, a clowder of cats, a murder of crows. We delighted over the phrases.. some of the better ones, a business of ferrets.. a waddle of penguins. pandemonium of parrots, lounge of lizards and my favorite, a flamboyance of flamingos.

Another one of my favorites is ‘an embarrassment of riches’.

I was working for a good pal and we always enjoyed our time after the show or event. We would relax and talk about kids, life and other pertinent things. At one point in our conversation he said something that stopped me. He said, “Doc, you have a ‘wealth of friends'”. I hadn’t ever thought of a collective noun for such a thing. But I thought at that moment what an apt description. If wealth is measured by dollars… well, I don’t stack up very well. But if it’s about friends then I am indeed a rich man.

Facebook has an arbitrary cut off of 5000 friends that I have been hovering near for some time. It is not unusual to receive notes from all over the world thanks to my standing in the community of magicians. People I have met from the 36 years in the resort are still in touch as well. It is amazing. The “fabric of life” that I have been weaving all my life has been enriched by FB. I have been able to connect with a lot of high school pals so that my list of friends has expanded tremendously.

The ‘down side’ of having so many friends is that when people die, it isn’t unusual to know a greater percentage of them.

This has been an unusually bad stretch. Since Jan 1, but there has been an inordinate number of deaths in my world.. including a murder and a suicide!
In the past few years, some of my most favorite clients/friends/patrons of my magic have left as well. This has created a weird dynamic. The first time this phenomenon happened was easily 20 years ago. A wonderful family came up from Houston. The dad, Roy, would bring his brood in to see me. We all had some fun and memorable times. His daughter loved the magic (and the times we were creating). Word came to me that Roy passed away. The next winter she came in.. sat where they always sat and looked incredibly sad through the whole show. As she was leaving, she gave me a hug and whispered in my ear that she probably won’t come back. The visit reminded her of her beloved dad and the good times too much. It was too painful.

When people pass through the veils, the national celebrity deaths Phillip Seymour Hoffman, David Brenner are well publicized but the ones that happen locally, including a suicide, a murder (of all things), bizarre accidents hit so close to home. I sorta can’t handle all the memorial services.

The magic world has lost an inordinate amount of pals these days. Seems like everyday I learn of someone near and dear to me leaving the party.

Then, add to that parade, one , in particuar hit very close to home…my best high school pal who I had lost track of for 40+ years until last year when I finally tracked him down, thanks FB.. and we had a wonderful reunion when I was passing near his home on a recent trip to LA. We had a spirited time connecting the many dots of our lives. But it was to be our one and only reconnection. He passed away this past month. When one of your close friends, especially one who is your age and that you spent intense times with while growing up through high school leaves the party, it gives a person pause. And I have been pausing a lot in a reverie much of the time these days.

I am not looking for sympathy on this. It is simply a matter of the human condition. One that I don’t have to be happy about but that I should learn to live with because it is happening more and more. And be grateful that I am still here though they aren’t.

His mom reminded me that he and I were lucky to have each other as friends as well as all of our other friends.

I believe that life does not consist of what we own, but rather who we are and the relationships we have with others.
“It is a good thing to be rich and a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be loved by many friends.” Euripides

“Money will buy you a bed, but not a good night’s sleep, a house but not a home, a companion but not a friend.” Zig Ziglar

“Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends…” Henrik Ibsen

“The rich man with no friends is poor, indeed. The poor man with many friendships; however, is quite rich.” – Scott Andrews

“My friends are my estate.” Emily Dickinson

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