Robyn and I are going out of town on Friday to visit my old and dear friends, Donna and Craig, whom from time to time I have mentioned in these posts. Yet, as a result, I won’t be attending Joe’s upcoming show at a prime music venue here, also scheduled on Friday. Joe, who is a professional musician, arranger, and record producer, will be performing as a member of the band that is backing up one of Joe’s featured recording artists.
I came to know Joe because he happens to be Lee’s nephew, indeed, by my reckoning, her very favorite nephew. And it’s easy for me to understand why he was Lee’s favorite: Far more important than the impressive credentials he brings as a trained musician, a talented vocalist, and a technically proficient recording producer, Joe is simply a gentle and good-natured soul, who occasionally would do something scatterbrained that drove his Aunt Lee nuts.
And to be completely honest, thanks to Donna and Craig’s prior invitation I secretly felt mild relief when I had to decline the invitation to this concert extended to me by Lee’s brother Paul. My reaction was no reflection on Joe, of course. Rather, it was based on my opinion that, despite having a lovely singing voice, the singer-song writer Joe currently is promoting is a bland and tedious performer. I caught her act on a previous occasion that I had used as a reason to introduce Robyn to Lee’s family –to Paul, his wife, Joe, and Joe’s brother Andy. This single performance had been quite enough for me. I felt relief because I would not have to fabricate an excuse for not attending the upcoming event. I will have to be content to read the reviews once I’m back at home.
Still, I sent Joe a sincere note wishing him success. Predictably, he replied promptly to my message. As always, he was gracious. Additionally, he told me that this week was a particularly hectic one for him because, apart from the concert, he and Katie were closing a real estate deal to buy their first house. For the past two years, along with their two young children, Joe and Katie have been living with Katie’s mother in her home.
Interestingly, my relationship with Lee’s family changed following her death. Although I accompanied Lee to many family functions, it would never have occurred to me to initiate a dinner or other family get-together that did not involve her. Yet, in the aftermath of Lee’s death Paul and I came to lean on one another for occasional emotional support. These efforts blossomed into a friendship of sorts. Still, you would hardly call us bosom pals. The fact is, we do not share very many common interests. Nonetheless, Paul, Joann and I make it a point to occasionally socialize. It does not feel at all awkward to include Robyn in our plans, however, at the same time, I don’t think Paul or Joann really care one way or the other whether Robyn joins us. I know that Robyn doesn’t care.
Perhaps it’s natural for me to wonder whether in the long run my friendship with Paul and Joann will prove to be ephemeral. For my part, I hope our friendship is a lasting one. However, I acknowledge the possibility that, as the months and years accumulate since Lee’s passing, it is not.
As for Joe and Andy, for that matter their kids, I expect at least for the foreseeable future that we will maintain contact, even if our bond isn’t the strongest. There remain certain matters involving inheritances that reflect the agreements and promises that Lee and I made to each other. I would feel compelled to honor these arrangements, even if I were to completely lose touch with one or both nephews. Also, I remain interested in watching their personal progress over time, as well as that of their children. Even so, I am mindful that without the connective tissue of Lee’s presence to bind us, there is a distinct possibility that we will grow apart over time.