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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Old Friends

Old Friends

I spoke today with my old friend, Andrew. Tomorrow is his 64th birthday. Normally, we exchange life updates by e-mail, but today just seemed right.

We've been friends since 8th grade, and were practically inseparable for years. When we discovered tennis at age 14, we played most every day during the summer, in the evenings after we got summer jobs. We double-dated to our junior prom. During college, he'd visit me in New Jersey, and I'd visit him in Boston. I remember one particular New Year's Eve when we trudged through the snow with two friends of his to a Clint Eastwood film at the Orson Welles Cinema.

After school, he moved to northern Virginia with his then-girlfriend, now wife. Shortly after, I took a job in Richmond. We'd get together for tennis at local courts in Arlington. I was best man at his wedding in western Maryland. He was to have been best man at my wedding to Karen, but had to move his mother to a nursing home that day.

Karen and I lived in Crofton, Maryland, and Andrew and his wife would come for dinner, or we'd see them in Virginia. We both worked in Washington for a while, and we'd get together for lunch in the District.

We didn't see each other much after Karen and I moved to Wyoming. On occasion, I'd have to fly to Washington, and we'd have lunch. I saw him and Teresa when I went east to my 20th college reunion; he drove up to New Jersey for my father's funeral.

It's been 12 years since we've seen each other, but we've stayed in touch. Today, it was just like old times. We compared the effects of aging. Talked about who was (and was not) recognizable in 45th high school graduation reunion photos. He told me he was thinking about learning radio production at a local community college in hopes of hosting a radio show; I reminded him of the days when we'd sit with an old Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder at my house and pretend we were on radio. We talked about what his two kids and my stepson were up to. I invited him to visit us some time on their way to Hawaii, where they have a condo. He allowed as how, now he and his wife are retired, they might come our way to see some of the western national parks.

And it will be good. Like old times, I hope.

I once thought we'd grow old in Trenton, like Simon and Garfunkel's old friends, sitting on a park bench, like bookends. Now, it's e-mail and cell phones. But, still old friends.

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