He who has a thousand friends

The ways in which my father would spontaneously arrange words into oddly juxtapositioned concepts and sentences was a talent of which I stand in awe, and will always be immoderately jealous.

April 8th 1970

My Dear Shelly –

A little while ago, I was watching television and saw a dialogue between an interviewer and a young woman director. She was from Sweden, about 24 years of age and quite pretty in a plain sort of way. She had left home at the age of 13 and with a small troupe of five other children they had danced and recited small acting parts all through Europe. They had earned enough to make themselves self-supporting in their travels ~ Vanity is the wind ~ Youth is but a flash of lightning that passes toward the coming on of the future. There is mystery and drama in every far off corner of life in the big city.

I read in Newsweek magazine about a young virtuoso violinist who altho penniless played with soul-stirring genius in the streets of New York City, and he was presented with dinner invitations, gifts and money and thus displayed his intimate talents…



Michael has been working on the motorcycle and had finally revived it so that it performs rather well. Chucky has just now left on a ride with Michael over to Libby. Tomorrow I go to court for a traffic violation – making a left turn into a bank parking lot. ~It is a ridiculous violation which is really a matter of traffic courtesy. But this officer insisted on giving me a ticket. I will let you know how I come out in my next letter.

Lots of love from,

Dad and Mom, Chucky & Michael

August 2, 1970

My dear Shelly ~

Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he posseseth, but not how many friends. In the choice moreover of a dog or a horse we exercise the greatest care. We inquire into its pedigree, its training and character, and yet we leave too often the selection of our friends, which is of infinitely greater importance – by whom our whole life will be more or less influenced either for good or evil – almost by chance.

It is no doubt true, as the “Autocrat of the breakfast table” says, that all men are bores except when we want them.

It was nice talking to you on the phone Saturday night. I am enclosing your Birth Certificate which proves that you were born. How can anyone doubt it? The facts are all there in black and white.

We shall now wait and see what the results will be from the moves made by Israel, Egypt and Jordan towards a peaceful settlement of the war.

It has been said that it is wise always to treat a friend, remembering that he may become an enemy, and an enemy remembering that he may become a friend. And then there is the advice of Pythagoras – not to shake hands with too many, but as long as friends are well chosen, it is true rather that:

“He who has a thousand friends,

Has never a one to spare,

And he who has one enemy,

Will meet him everywhere.”

Be careful in the trip to Alaska. It will probably be more advisable to fly during the daylite hours and to be careful about high mountain cliffs and have plenty of gasoline in the tanks. Chucky is out at camp for going over a week. I guess I will write him a letter. We all join in wishing you a happy birthday.

Lots of love from Dad, Mother and Michael

Shelly Reuben is an Edgar-nominated author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit shellyreuben.com

Copyright © 2009, Shelly Reuben.

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