“We need the network.”

At the end of this frenetic week, it’s good to pause and consider all the people around that make up one’s network. My husband and I discussed this earlier this week in the context of taking the van (again) to our local repair shop to get the heater fixed: we just needed him ‘to do it.’ Sometimes the subject of network arises when we think about moving to another climate: we balance the love we have for the West (and slightly warmer climes) against the present infrastructure here and now that we depend on each week. The medical and dental crew are but one part of this. There’s also, quite literally, the butcher and the baker although no candlestick maker (yet), unless you count Yankee Candle Company, but I know their wares are sold nationwide.

No, the network includes mostly the little things: the neighbors, the next door winery, the place and means to get the dog walked. This morning I even gave thanks for the utilities that made it possible for me to leap into a lit hallway and hit the hot shower when I overslept a half hour and went racing for, yes, this commuter rail, another moving part that gets me in and out of town and provides a moment or two along the way.

This week I returned a call to one of my mother’s first cousins. At age 92 she’s sharper than I am at the moment, reminding me of ways to look at the farm we own with our other relatives and on which she, her siblings and other extended family were raised. That particular pocket of the family network was particularly close: four girl cousins amongst two brothers and many aunts and uncles were all very close in age, living on the same farm and going through school together. Two of these girls of whom my mother was one, looked forward to “green jello on their [mutual] birthday: can you imagine?”

At first blush it is hard to imagine excitement at green jello, but in those tough times it must have been a special treat. But it was part of what that network did and the love therein was no less than the love and friendship we have today.

This morning my train seatmate nearly burst into tears while making a phone call asking her friend to take to the bank a check she’d forgotten to deal with the day previous. “As you walk in the house, look in the urn toward the left side, inside the fabric from the party last year….you’ll find the check in there….just DO IT!” she wailed into the phone, frazzled and at breakpoint. It’s probably been a tough week and season for many of us, I thought to myself. All the more reason therefore to give thanks for the networks that keep us afloat, a little bit sane, close to on-time, and maybe, just maybe, able to do the next thing in front of us because they are doing it with us. Hooray, hurrah, for the network! Amen.

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