Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Now is that time...

Shanghai: where you see more umbrellas when it's sunny, than when it's raining...

The Ties That Bind

(Written last week before we departed Shanghai. Now back in St. Louis preparing for Killer Summer publication next week. Tweeting on RidleyTheWriter)


We mustn't ever lose track of friendship in our lives. As our family prepares to leave Shanghai after a year in residence, we are forced to say goodbye to two wonderful women who have made our life here so effortless and enjoyable. One, our housekeeper, has become such a member of the family that my wife and I are overly emotional at just the idea of saying goodbye. It is impossible to think we may never see this woman again. She has become that close to us.

As we looked to help her to someday visit us in the US, the impediments were many. Celebrate a free society, it's a real blessing. But it's just another in a long string of reminders these past few months of the human importance of friendship--how we so often take it for granted without meaning to.

So (to proselytize) take a moment today to call or email your friends and remind them how much they mean to you. Contact that cousin you've fallen out of touch with. Celebrate life. It is fleeting. And too often we look back and wish we'd had the chance to tell someone how influential or important or meaningful they are or were to us. Now is that chance. Now is that time.

Who knows? You may never get back to Shanghai...

* * *

One last look down a lane (our lane) of memories (instead of memory lane...)

Our corner...

In case my Internet was occasionally spotty... here is a look at our phone and electric lines on the outside of our house:

And of course, a person needs a way to get the duffel bags to the corner. Our gate keeper loaned me the community carrier... (vintage 1940's by the way, and still going, like EVERYTHING in Shanghai).

(posted from St Louis)


  1. What a steamer trunk of memories you must have!

    And great for the kids.

    You're a good Dad.

  2. What a lovely post, Ridley, so eloquent in its simplicity, but then truth is like that. This one's a keeper - and may you continue to share your thoughts and reflections now that you're back here again - however strange that may seem at the moment.

  3. Thanks for the pictures, Ridley. Have we told YOU lately how much we appreciate you? Best on the book tour!!!!

  4. your affection for shanghai is so tangible and i hope you will get a chance to go back there again.

    also your thoughts on friendship are wonderful. as a matter of fact, just recently i found an old danish friend of mine - on facebook of all places - who moved to australia some 20 odd years ago. and i found jackie 'OUR J' a couple of years ago and, of course, read her posts, and all of the nakeds now,religiously.

    i will even ring my cousin in berlin tonight. we lost touch about 4 years ago.

    thanks, ridley, for kicking my proverbials. good luck on the book tour.


  5. That is the best advice I've seen all week, maybe all month.

    I need to call my aunt.

  6. Sybille: my wife has found myriad former friends on FaceBook. I haven't dived in myself, but she's having a great time reconnecting.