Seems a bit untoward to write an advertorial on Christmas Day about crass buying-and-selling stuff. But this column is about value and without a doubt, family and health are the most valuable things we possess.
When I met Katrina on an online jewelry industry “bulletin board” in the late 1990s, we sparred good naturedly via this now archaic mode of communication about a myriad of jewelry-related topics, but mostly about valuation theory.
I flirted with her ...a lot... and finding out she was at the end of her marriage — while sad — encouraged me even more. (A Protestant and a Catholic, a democrat and a republican and a 13- year age difference worried our respective parents.
Oh, and she had a 4-year-old.)
We had fallen in love ...yes, online... without seeing each other. We met in New Orleans, halfway between our Houston and Tampa Bay homes. We married within three months of that first meeting.
Katrina, Kendon and their two cats merged with me and my two beagles. I brought Kendon to Eddie, our fierce and deadly attack beagle (ok, he was a lovebug), and I said “Eddie, I got you a boy.”
Kendon, 4 at the time, was momentarily puzzled, but quickly pointed a finger at me and exclaimed, “You’re TEASING me!” Thank goodness he got it. The next week, when Kendon asked what was for dinner, I pointed to Ed and Lucy and said, “Dog ear soup.” A big smile and the “You’re TEASING me!” retort came my way.
On our first Christmas Day as a family, when he was still shy of 5, he came toddling into the living room and stood, nervously rocking from padded slipper to padded slipper in his Winnie-the-Pooh jammies. Missing from his cute little face was the
usual mischievous grin; it was replaced with a furled brow – something I had never seen before. Looking at the floor he said softly, “Jeff, if I call you Papa, will you call me son?”
The answer was difficult. Not difficult to decide, but difficult to get out. Just saying the words, “Yes, son,” was all I could manage.
Pictured below are snapshots of our first Christmas together after a school pageant where he was sharing his lamb ears with me, and today as a software engineer writing code for a big company. We raised a good one!