When we are born, we get associated with our family by blood relation. However, there is a relation that we choose ourselves and that is defined as friend. Friends make our lives interesting, beautiful, memorable and occasionally complicated, but that part is a story for another day.

Friends are people we can bounce ideas off, enjoy activities with and, with many, appreciate their willingness to problem solve and offer a helping hand. Most of the time, the people we meet can make a huge impact on our lives and make us see the world with a different perspective. Friends are also those people you can strike up a conversation with and feel completely at ease even if you haven’t chatted in days, weeks, months or even years.

Although there may be nearly 40 years that separate our ages, Jane Slater is one of those people I can strike up a conversation with, touch on various topics and leave our time together looking forward to more. Dear Jane, my remarkable predecessor, celebrated her 91st birthday on Feb. 15. I stopped by her house to simply wish her a happy day and ended up comfortably reclining in her living room for longer than a few minutes, but not nearly long enough.

Her birthday festivities, which included cake, visiting, phone calls, text messages, emails and Facebook posts, began last week with a trip to the Big Apple. She traveled as the guest of two younger friends and spent three days touring through both old favorites spots and new sites. They ventured uptown, midtown, downtown, east side and west. Food was consumed in Chinatown, among other places.

A visit to the Whitney Museum was a highlight, but what tipped the scales, get this, was paying a visit to the apartment house where Jane lived in 1959. What came as a surprise was that part of the apartment building is now a tattoo parlor. Jane got a kick out of that as did her companions.

The cross-state lines adventure was a wonderful treat and not only is Jane grateful for good friends and good health but for her long and short-term memories that are both completely intact.

Let’s all extend wishes of healing and contentment to Bob Ganz who has paid a visit to Mass General. From what I hear, he’s regaining some strength, but good thoughts for all involved in his recuperation would be appreciated. His bride Ann and daughter Claire continue to hold down the fort on North Road. I send a little extra love their way.

Lena, the dear foster dog of Gloria, Lisa and Jennifer Burkin, continues to look for her furever home. She continues to make progress under their care and has proven she will better the lives of whomever she ultimately ends up with. You can find her details on PetFinder or reach out to the Burkins.

We suffered a personal loss in that big wind a couple of weeks ago. The Texaco door mat, the one that’s been on the porch at 60 Basin Road for well over 30 years, danced off the step and landed somewhere that we have yet to find. If you happen to come across it we would be thrilled to have it back. Crossing over the threshold simply doesn’t feel the same without it so each day I continue to search and ask you to keep your eyes peeled.

The Little Lending library nestled in at the base of Harbor Hill and facilitated by Debby Packer is chock full of great titles appealing to a wide crowd. Stop by and make a swap or peruse the titles and back covers for one you might like to take on walkabout. Books are such a great escape from the doldrums of day to day life and the simplicity of a lending library is quietly charming.

I’ve heard the unfortunate news that Jessie Benton has died. Born in 1939 to Thomas and Rita, she spent as much time as she could nestled in among the oaks of Old Woods. She was someone whose presence you couldn’t miss in a crowd and the void she leaves will be hard to fill. Memories and stories, of which there are many, will hopefully ease some of the pain and begin to bring smiles. My condolences go out to her children; Cybele Benton McCormick, Anthony Gude, Daria Lyman and and their families.