Meet the Family
 
     My family as I see it consists of my parents, myself, my children, my grand children, my sisters, my brother-in-law, my nieces , my nephew, my great-niece, and my closest and dearest friend.     Is it unusual to include your closest and dearest friends in your family?  I don't believe it is.  Aren't we there for them just we are for the rest of our family?  Aren't they there for us just as stable and caring as our family members?
     My definition of  a 'best friend' is someone who is like family - Ever and Always, always there!  A best friend is someone who seems to care more for you than himself/herself.  Someone who  values your existence as a necessity.  Someone that leaves a hole in your life when they aren't around.  Someone who, when they aren't around, you find yourself with a million and one things you'd like to say to them.  Someone who shares common interests and participates in your life almost every day.
     Can I say as much for my family members?  Yes;  I think I can.  Although we all go our separate ways and 'do our own things' we always enjoy our time together.  Now that we are separated by hundreds of miles - the internet is our link to each other.

Darla
 
     Both of my sisters have access to the internet;  Darla, the youngest uses hers to keep in touch with me and others.  We use Mirabellis ICQ to let each other know when we're online.  We don't always contact each other, but we set the program up to verbally announce when the other comes online.  I can be sitting here working on my pages or just cruising around the sites and suddenly the computer says "Darla, is online".  And I can't describe the feeling of warmth that comes over me - just to know she's there and I can share a laugh, a trouble or reach out and touch her with a smile or a touch.  Yes; it's possible!  We might say 'hi, I'm on' or we might not.  We might chat for hours or use the speaker system to actually talk to each other.  We might now say a word.  It doesn't matter;  we are aware of each others presence through ICQ.  We say 'Goodnight before we log off  or we leave a message letting each other know when we won't be online or what time we will be online.  It's like we are in the same house, each doing what we want to do but ever and always available for each other because we love each other and need each other.  Neither one of us can actually afford to keep the internet;  yet, neither one of us can give it up.

Doris & Francis
 
     Our sister, Doris, on the other hand,  has no interest in the computer except as a tool to do her job.  She hasn't experienced the warmth of the feeling of just sitting in the room with her sister's, just knowing they're there if she needs them, just saying 'Goodnight, Sis', sharing those trivial little upsets that get to each of us now and then!  We miss her presence, but understand that she just doesn't know what it's like to be in the other room doing what needs to be done and suddenly hear a loud announcement that 'Sis is online!'.  She waits until she misses us so much that she just has to pick up the phone and call.  And, isn't it always the way of it - the phone rings when you're in the middle of something or just getting ready to head out the door or you're just not home!
     Now her hubby could have ICQ installed and setup on the computer in the blink of an eye, but he's become a hard core business application nut and professes that she doesn't need it!
     He use to think a person had a right to have anything they wanted on their computer - Now he thinks no one should have and computer unless they need it for work and then they shouldn't have anything but what they need to get the job done!
     All I ever hear from him since he went to work for Ford is:  'Format the drive, install windows, take out the sound cards and everything else you don't need to get the job done!'(12-16-98 I just received a message that he says 'F-Disk', not 'Format'! For those of you who understand the terrifying expression 'Format' but haven't heard the word 'F-Disk' - if you F-Disk, you MUST then Format!) 
     Now you've met my sisters and my brother-in-law and that's enough for one page!