You are considered blessed in life if you have one true love, one true passion, and one true friend.
Recently one of those came to town for a visit. Not any friend – the one I first met while the Mayflower moving truck sat parked in the driveway unloading my family’s belongings into a new home in a new town. First grade waited patiently a few weeks ahead of me.
Between the pumpkin colored sofa, four metal kitchen chairs, and a dozen brown cardboard wardrobe boxes, he and I first met. His mother, younger brother, and sister in tow had walked through the green space separating our houses. A large plate of cookies proved the perfect icebreaker as we kids mingled in the ankle-high grass.
Nearly half a century later, we remain the closest of friends but rarely see each other. We’ve not lived in the same ZIP code let alone in the same state in decades. Yet we still find ways to remain close and making opportunities to get together.
Our friendship is like most – filled with highs and lows. We’ve fought, cried, and experienced many of our greatest memories together. Some of the moments I am proud of; others downright ashamed. But the one constant is that they happened with us an arm’s length apart.
I remember us rolling in a front yard, arms locked, punching, spitting, biting until we finally gave up. A few days later we didn’t remember why we ended up in the dirt in the first place. We, as they say, walked it off, letting the episode blow off into the summer dust.
We were battery mates on the little league baseball diamond, me on the mound and he behind the plate. We climbed out of windows and scaled dangerous rooftops to check out the views. We even skateboarded competitively together – a thread that altered our lives forever. As teenagers, we even drove a car with broken alternator thousands of miles because we wanted so badly to go camping on a beach. For a week or so we each took turns pushing the small car down flat coastal roads while the other sat inside ready to drop the clutch.
Fast-forward a half-century. We both have experienced marriage, parenthood, and can legally claim a senior citizen discount at McDonald’s. But we’ve never let time or distance keep us from remaining the closest of friends. We are joined by time.
Friendship is like an investment – an investment you make with your heart. Today the word can simply mean you accepted an invitation to an emotionless social media platform. To me, friendship is paid for with love, pain, and shared memories.
This past weekend my wife said she thought was watching two 10-year old kids. He and I went to the local skatepark, rode bikes, and even went surfing a couple of days. We were, for all practical purposes, the same kids who shared that first plate of cookies in the driveway. And for that, I consider myself a blessed man.