Old Friends

This past weekend we went to Rochester again for a fast visit. We didn't visit my mom - we visited my brother and sister-in-law. It had been a long time since we have been able to spend some time with Dick and Nan.

When we got there, the dining room table was set for 6. Robert asked who else was coming for dinner, and Dick said it was a surprise. OK. That sounded like fun.

The four of us talked, catching up with what our kids are doing, and how we all are feeling these days. All four of us have had health issues during the past year. Dick and Nan each had a nasty fall that resulted in broken bones, I had emergency surgery, Robert had a severe episode of depression. The general consensus was that we were glad to have all of that behind us.

As we talked, my brother cooked. He is a wonderful cook, and specializes in grilling. He put together a Cal-Mex meal that looked very promising. Fancy macaroni and cheese, seasoned corn, and a tri-tip steak for the grill. A tri-tip is the bottom of a sirloin, and is triangular in shape. They have a butcher shop in their neighborhood where they can buy good cuts of meat at reasonable prices. Lucky them.

Then the mystery guests arrived - Terry and Elaine. Terry was one of my best friends in my senior year of high school. In fact, Terry was the reason I finally had a group of friends.

I spent most of my school years as a lonely child, without real friends. I'm not sure why. I had good grades, and it's always tempting to blame that, but others with good grades managed to also have a social life. There was just something about me that was different, and that didn't mesh with my classmates. It may have been because I was a liberal in a pretty conservative town. By my last year of high school, the counterculture was in full flower and a group of "hippies" had formed at school. This group accepted me as a friend. It was the happiest year of my public school career, even if I still did not go to the prom. I had a place to eat lunch and to hang out between classes. The group liked to get together after school and have fun, too, and I often got to go along. I especially remember going out on J.C.'s family's sailboat. They lived on the shore of Lake Ontario and had a private dock there for their boat, and J.C. was allowed to take the boat out with his friends. It felt like a miracle that I could be there.

Terry was at the center of this group. A thoughtful and gentle young man, he had a kind of philosophical gravitas that held us together. He was the person who welcomed me to the table when I made my first tentative steps towards joining this group of friends. I had not seen him and his wife in over 20 years.

It was a great evening. The food was superb, and the conversation was engaging. It was wonderful to reconnect.

I hope that I manage to stay in touch with Terry and Elaine. One shouldn't let old friendships slip away. I have a habit of doing so, and it's time to put some work into maintaining at least one old friendship.

If I could only find J.C., too...


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