Open Door Policy
After Mom’s funeral, almost everyone gathered at the house, and in the pictures that were taken it was plain to see all the guys who came to support us that day. So many of their faces were welcome and appreciated, all long time friends who became like brothers throughout the years. Some were from childhood and others through music, so many were classmates from school and some whom we met through working.
It seemed to be a testament to the open door policy that Mom and Dad always had in place all through our lives at the house. Anybody and everybody were always welcome at any time, and the folks took everyone in and embraced them all equally. And that day brought out the true essence of what it was like to be a part of such a generous outpouring of respect and affection for the past.
Many of the friends of one of us had become the friends of all of us, and collectively we sort of evolved into this all-inclusive and wide-ranging assemblage of cohorts with many of the same likes and dislikes and commonalities.
If one of us wasn’t around and any of them just happened to come by, often times they would just hang out with whoever was at home, sitting in the kitchen or on the front porch. It was not uncommon to have a gathering where a few sets of brothers were present, and that always made for some interesting conversations. And as I can recall there never was any real acrimony or rancor that ever came up either, we all just seemed to get along and had some kind of rapport with each other. The reality of the age differences that separated us became a blur and we all were woven into each other’s lives.
This wide-ranging circle of friends came from all walks of life, in literally every color that humanity is made of, yet with divergent personalities to match. They were from many of the different neighborhoods all over the city and our house was like a magnet, pulling us together like the force of nature always does. Now many years later I reflect on all the comings and goings fondly.
As we each grew older and started leaving home one by one, slowly as in all things life’s courses change and the winds start to scatter the leaves. Then the years went by and I still saw the open door policy almost as if it were handed down to the next generation to come and in retrospect, I knew in my heart that the legacy lives on. Maybe we were not at all that unique in the way things go after all.
George said it best; “It is hard to pinpoint years because we were all family type friends. The years blended together, it was still nice, I felt very blessed at that moment” and when I refer to the open door policy being handed down, I saw it happening at Frank’s house, and at Joe’s and Ralph’s too. Just like Mom and Dad, and it’s truly wonderful to see the guys carry on the tradition.
But with all six of us, there were so many friends who became a part of the open door policy network it’s virtually impossible to reckon them all. I can still see their faces and hear them laughing and feel the easy going banter that always took place. Nowadays, we may still manage to stay in touch with some, but it’s most likely we won’t see many of them again while the journey goes on. And yet still now, like back in the day when the house was the place, the door is always open.