Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hanging Out With Old Gold Friends

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver,
the other is gold.
 the OLD…

Several years ago hub and I went to a wedding. We did not know the other couples at our table. Looking around, he leaned over and muttered, “Why are we sitting with all these old farts?”

I stared at him and whispered back, “Because they are us.”

“Oh…No, really?” was his response, shaking his head.

How did that happen?

Other people age. We celebrate annual rites of passage, but believe – falsely, of course – that we do not age the same as those around us. We may succumb to aches and pains, but do not look or feel old.

But of course we do. Look old. We look like every other aging boomer.

We are as gray, wrinkled, bald, round and flabby as those around us. Exercising helps, but unless devoting life to attaining a Jack or Jacqueline LaLanne physique or paying piles of cash to erase evidence of our true age, the years mercilessly materialize on the body.

Maybe that is OK. We earned our facial lines and body transformations, proudly announcing to the world we are still around, very much active, alive and kicking.

Inside we are still kids romping through the ‘60s dancing to the music.

We may not be able to dance as wildly or as long or flexibly as we did decades ago, but we are as enthusiastic as ever. There are times the body does not cooperate. Disappointing, but not tragic. We plod on, celebrating what we can accomplish.

Including hanging out with old friends.

and the GOLD…

It is one of the blessings of old friends
that you can afford to be stupid with them.
-       Ralph Waldo Emerson

Getting together with friends scattered around the country is special. The group sharing dinner Friday night is considered old by some. Age is relative, and although not our relatives, our kids believe our friends, as well as Mom and Dad, are fast approaching ‘old’. I think that is because the kids have known us for decades. They grew up and matured while we aged and ripened.

Our friendships do not reach as far back as the 1960s, but come close. We have known each other since our children – in their 30s now – scampered around in diapers.

This particular summer evening four couples gathered at a restaurant at the shore enjoying summer, friendships, a temporary respite from grandkids, and one member’s 66th birthday.

It is remarkable all four couples are original twosomes, married and together since the 1970s. No divorces, deaths or remarriages. That statistic alone makes us somewhat exceptional.

Because of busy calendars and homes geographically dispersed, time between get-togethers can be months or years. But it is a gift that when together we pick up where we left off, catching up on family, jobs, retirement (when? where? what to do?), and other trivia of everyday lives.

Perhaps the greatest gift is we can be ourselves in the silliest and stupidest ways. We reminisce about being young parents. We recall happy occasions shared, eating, drinking, dancing and simply having fun. We rejoice in weddings and births. And we remember the sadder events experienced over the years.

During dinner waiters delivered a birthday cake to a woman at the table next to us. The entire dining room joined in an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday,” amazed that the woman celebrating her 94th birthday was so lively, young looking (relatively speaking, of course), and totally ‘with it’.

Hub and I are planning on returning to the restaurant on the bay in three decades to celebrate our friend’s 96th birthday.

Special note to my Friday night buddies: Mark your calendars - July 11, 2044. It’s a Monday. Since we will all be retired by then, the weekday won’t matter. 

5 comments:

  1. Wonderful quote! Wonderful post. Happy Fourth to you all.
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  2. Oh, I just love your long distance (time wise) date! And yes, it's strange to think how quickly I got old, must have happened when I wasn't looking. :-)

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  3. Agree, there are no friends like old friends ... the strong ties, shared experiences, easy comfort, silent understanding. It's all great!

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  4. My husband (now 50) still refers to someone we might see in a restaurant... "See that kid over there? We went to school together". KID?... Kid?... you mean that grown middle aged man? ....

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