Other characters who appear occasionally:
My folks – this refers to my dad and my stepmother (who I usually reference as “Mom”). They live about 12 hours from here and are currently raising my stepbrother’s daughter and son, while running a business. Their willingness to take on this task amazes me. My dad was my Christian influence growing up, and remains a mentor to us. My (step)mom introduced me to the fact that cookies can be made at home, when I was 7, and I haven’t been the same since.
My younger (by 2 years) brother – “Uncle Munchkin,” to my kids. He lives in Fargo (though occasionally serves in Afghanistan, Germany, and other rough spots like Puerto Rico) and he and his wonderful wife have a daughter (3), and a baby son.
Gi-gi – this is my mother’s mother. She is a breed unto herself, as the Gi-gi tag will show. She is 85, runs circles around most people, though half (update: 3/4)-blind with macular degeneration. She’s a liberal, a feminist, and a Catholic, somehow. Election season can get a little colorful with her around, but we love her. She lives 2 hours from us, and we see her semi-frequently.
Gramps – gone for a few years now, he remains present in my thoughts and posts, sometimes. He diligently pursued Gi-gi in 1948-1949, and walked out on the family 40 years later. Aside from the time he spent on a Destroyer in the South Pacific in WWII, and a stint in Korea, he lived his entire life within a 5-block radius.
Granny – my Dad’s mom, passed away in June of 2011. She was 93, and the source of my first meeting with chickens, berry picking, apple orchards, barns, gardens, and pie-making. She lived my whole life across the crick and up the hill from my dad’s home.
Grandpa – passed away in the fall of 1998. Strict, orderly, and a brilliant engineer. A Good Man, who is missed.
My In-Laws – we live near my husband’s family, including his parents, an older sister (married, 3 kids – boy 18, girl 17, girl 7), a younger sister (married, 1 daughter born a day before Miss Pleasant), some aunts, uncles, lotsa cousins, some grandparents. We are blessed to enjoy these relationships and spend holidays and other events with many of them.
And characters whose lack of appearance might be noticeable:
My mother passed away a few weeks after Hubby and I married in 2000. She was divorced from my father in 1980, and suffered since that time from chronic-progressive MS. She loved music, the outdoors, and people. I lived with her until I was almost 13, when I moved to live with my dad and stepmom. While I loved my mother to pieces, she was never a very influential person in my life. I rejoice that she’s not now confined to bed or wheelchair.