Sometimes the important lessons are right under your nose. I was raised by decent folks, sweet people. Not having a father in my life, I was blessed with four uncles who made sure that I missed nothing. Little Ronny got to go on all vacations. My four aunts all spoiled me with love and affection, more than any kid deserves. My mom, of course, is the best. She took me to see Bo Diddley. What more can I say? Cousins? Well, mine were, and are, the best. More like the brothers and sisters that I never had. The crown jewel in the family, we would all agree, was Grandma. Lottie was the kindest and wisest woman who ever lived.
Yeah, I learned to be nice. I was taught to be kind and polite and I learned all about good manners. My values remain pretty much the same as Grandma's and that's shameless bragging. She taught me all about standing up for what you believe, taking care of the ones who need it and the utter foolishness of war and conflict.
For whatever reason, though, it is just now becoming obvious to me that there is no scoreboard. From the new vantage point of geezerhood it suddenly occurs to me that life is no game. You don't look around to make certain that the other guy is playing fair with you. Don't misunderstand, there's really no reason to play the role of victim. Loving is all there is, though. You don't compete. There is never a reason to withhold love.
I always heard that if you were crazy enough to crawl into the ring with one of those old timey, wrestling bears that you had to play fair. If you squeezed, they squeezed back. If the bear detected, however, that you were trying to hurt him, look out. Old Dakota would crack your ribs.
Now I look back and fret that I've spent far too much time and energy measuring the love and kindness and fairness of the other guys. None of my business, really. If a person isn't playing fair, well, that's his grandmother's problem and it's probably not something that you're gonna change. Get away if you need to, but don't play unfair yourself. Love harder. Be kinder. The pure joy of loving is the reward. I love you all.