Celebrate here. Thank you Ruth Ayres for hosting.
Last night I had dinner with an old friend at a new restaurant. We’ve known each other since we were small children learning to sail on the bay in front of the beach where we both spent long stretches of summer. My friend now lives and teaches at a university in a town just an hour away from where I live. Both of us are far away from the summer community where we still gather with our families every year. When we walked into the restaurant, I spotted several familiar faces, friends who are by comparison new, were sitting at the tables on either side of where the waiter seated us. But really even some of them weren’t that new. I now live about a hundred miles from where I grew up and graduated from a small Catholic girls high school, and one of my high school classmates was seated at the table to our left with her husband and mutual friends.
Last evening was fun, and the conversation was easy, the way it often is with people you’ve known practically forever. We caught up on several years of news, laughed over long ago memories and talked through some of the bumps in each of our roads.
When we parted at the end of the evening, I found myself thinking about the blessing of old friends. Just two weeks ago I had the chance to visit with a friend I first met when our fathers were both stationed in Athens, Greece. She and I don’t get to visit often, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off, laughing at the same old jokes and memories, discussing the state of our respective tennis games, and puzzling over the challenges of raising children.
And when my phone rang this morning, there on the other end of the line was my oldest friend in the world. We grew up two doors away from each other and to this day enjoy the easy time we spend together whenever we get the chance.
As I write, I am missing a gathering with some of my high school girlfriends who’ve travelled to a sunny spot to celebrate the year of our 50th birthdays. I’m loving their photos on Facebook, and am there in spirit. They are a remarkable group of women who understand better than most the value of long nurtured friendship.
My friends are dear to me. I learn from them daily. The keep me sane and honest. But there is something truly special about old friends. They are as comfortable and familiar as a pair of well worn jeans. And it feels good that they fit even better after all these years. So, today I celebrate friends, especially the old ones.