Featured Column
Week of 4.18.2005
A passion for family
           Joe is 83-years old, a retired accountant. He’s handsome. He wears a neatly trimmed beard. His eyes tell his life story. He’s highly intelligent, sensitive and his soul is gentle. Anyone would be proud and fortunate to have Joe as a friend. Joe is Mary’s brother.
          Mary, Joe’s sister, is 92-years old. She continues to care and worry about her four children. Mary played a large role in the raising of her sister and two brothers. Mary, as the oldest child was always the responsible one, the caring one, the worrier. Mary’s Mediterranean beauty remains with her.
            Frank, Mary’s other brother is 79-years old. Frank was a district manager for a large corporation. He still plays an active game of tennis. His handshake is strong and he has the easy smile of a man who has found success and happiness. His charm radiates.
           Frances, Mary’s sister, is 81-years old. For years she was a highly successful office manager. Frances has a glowing smile that brings a youth to her being. She still has the beauty of a woman half her age. She carries a shy _expression that men have always found beguiling.
           The four of them were gathered, along with other family members and friends at a charming Italian restaurant to celebrate Easter Sunday together.
           The two brothers wore suits and ties, the two sisters were fashionably clothed. Each looked years younger than their age. They wore their Italian heritage proudly and it was evident that they took pleasure in each other’s company. 
            Each came in separate cars and when they arrived at the restaurant they hugged each other, not with Hollywood air kisses, but with sincere, loving hugs and honest appreciation that they were together again.
           The brothers and sisters live close to each other in the same California town. They stay in close contact throughout the year, but this was Easter – a time to bring the family together. This was a time for love, hugging and the exchanged glances between the patriarchs and matriarchs. Glances that only they could appreciate. Glances that silently recalled the decades of memories and emotions that they shared.
           The children of the elders were there. Mary’s two handsome sons, Tony and Bob joined her two attractive and charming daughters, Marilyn and Jacki. Jeanne, Frank’s winsome daughter came.
           There were husbands and wives, friends and cousins at the Easter Sunday dinner, but this was a time for the four elders. The dinner was for them. The mantle of leadership of the family was still theirs. Each of the four carried the respect of all the others.
           Grace, Joe’s friend; Jerry, Frances’ husband; Tom, Frances’ son-in-law; Jeannie, Frank’s wife: John, Jeannie’s son; Olivia, Frank’s wife’s niece – were there, paying loving respect to the    elders.
           There came a time for photographs. Mary, Joe, Frank and Frances left their seats and stood together. Their shoulders touched and then their arms spread to hold each other closer. They whispered “I love you” to each other as the photos were taken. Mary and Joe held hands for a moment as they spoke to each other. Frank put his arm around his sister Frances and held her close. 
           Now it was time for the cousins to be photographed. Tony, Bob, Jacki, Marilyn, John, Jeanne and Olivia stood shoulder to shoulder as the cameras clicked. They understood that in years to come they would become the elders of their family.
          Dessert brought the realization that their time together was drawing to a close. The elders rose from their chairs and spoke with the others and then gravitated to each other. They stood together, they touched, held hands and hugged each other. The rest of the family silently watched them and felt both joy and a sadness. Joy because the four elders were together and sadness because they wanted them always to be together like this. The shoulders of the four had carried the family to this day. The strength of the four had built this family on the foundation of love and caring. Everyone at this special Easter Sunday dinner left the restaurant knowing that they had shared in something special.
          Mary, Frances, Joe and Frank left separately, each hoping that next year they would share in another Easter Sunday dinner with their family.
          That fond thought was shared by everyone at the Easter dinner.
Story of a loving family
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger