Friends, the word conjures up so many images. When asked about a friend a stranger may ask “how long have you two been friends?”, or “Where did you meet your friend?” This second question also has an inherent time question as well; if you answer “We met in college.” It also answers the time question if you are now approaching your fiftieth birthday. So time is a big factor in friendships.
Recently I have been reconnecting with old friends. I don’t mean people who are older than me, but friends I knew a long time ago and have recently reconnected with. I am at a hard time in my life, so much has changed, my marital status (from a long term marriage to unsought bachelor) from homeowner to renter (with a move to another rental property in the next six months), to my daughter becoming an adult and stretching her wings and living abroad.
I took a trip to Baltimore recently to spend time with college friends and along with all the great things we created, the time just sitting around their dining room table, or talking in the kitchen was one of the best interludes in my life in a long time.
Old friends, that your grew up with are like comfort food. If you have ever been on a long, dark, winter journey and you came into a place that was warm and someone has some spaghetti and nice warm garlic bread ready for you; then you know the feeling I am talking about. They knew you when you were young before the gray hairs came into your goatee, heck even before you could grow a goatee. They ask what you have been doing in the twenty years to thirty years since you last saw them, and you get to rediscover the free and easy way you used to talk to people but with a better vocabulary and knowing what is truly important. Old friends are on your side, because to them there is only one side in your life, you. You shared your life with them before everything got complicated, with spouses, careers, mortgages, and the things the buffet and pummel you in life.
Maybe I am the exception, maybe you did not have those type of warm, affable, kindly and gracious people in your life, but I did and I let life move me away from a lot of them. Do not get me wrong, I have so far had a wonderful adventure in life and look forward to many more, but I wish I had realized how important old friendships were earlier in my life then I probably would not have let so many people drift away. I see my old friends through the eyes I had back then, hopeful, not cynical, and hopefully with some earned wisdom (and through bifocals for some of us) that the mistake you made back then are trivial and nothing compared to the blunders you have made recently.
If an old friend calls you to meet them at a diner, sit down with them and order an open faced meatloaf sandwich with brown gravy, fries or mash potatoes and hopefully you get a nice waitress who doesn’t mind you taking up a booth, where you sit for a long, warm, comfortable time. Go and talk about yourself, rediscover old stories, tell of your accomplishments and maybe share some pie.